A maskless Governor Bill Lee visited downtown Nashville to encourage tourism and support the local businesses. Lee didn’t acknowledge the Metro government’s ongoing mask mandate, which has been in effect since last June.
“Hey everybody, Governor Bill Lee here down on Broadway in downtown Nashville,” said Lee. “I’m glad that you are here for the SCC tournament or whether you’re a spring breaker just about to be here, or someone looking for a place to come this summer – Tennessee is open for business! I’m about to go down to some of my favorite businesses, get me a pair of boots, might get me something to eat. I hope that you will come down and get you some boots and you something to eat in downtown Nashville soon!”
We're open and we want to see you in Tennessee! pic.twitter.com/B25dbnBgbF
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) March 11, 2021
The pictures showed Lee visiting several businesses: Big Time Boots and Robert’s Western World.
As of press time, Nashville Mayor John Cooper hasn’t acknowledged Lee’s video. Violators of the mask mandate may be punished with a Class C misdemeanor, or up to 30 days imprisonment and/or up to a $50 fine, according to the mandate.
In response to criticism, Lee’s spokesperson Casey Black issued a statement that he’d respected any established policies.
“The governor took an afternoon walk downtown to highlight the small businesses that make Nashville a great host for events and tourists alike,” read the statement. “Established policies were respected.”
The day before, Lee asserted that Tennessee’s openness has allowed it to thrive as a go-to destination for tourists.
“There’s a reason why Tennessee is home to the #1 tourist destination in the U.S.: We’re open for business!” wrote Lee.
There’s a reason why Tennessee is home to the #1 tourist destination in the U.S.: We’re open for business!
Look forward to welcoming spring break visitors and summer road-trippers to the Tennessee experience.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) March 10, 2021
At the end of last month, Lee extended local governments’ authority to establish mask mandates until April 28. The accompanying orders also extended the limited state of emergency until the end of April as well.
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