Democratic Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced Thursday that the city is placing a ban on both indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than eight people during the week of Thanksgiving.
Cooper explained during his weekly news briefing the city’s new “Rule of 8,” which goes into effect Monday and limits gatherings to eight people “whether you are at a restaurant or your backyard,” according to the mayor’s office.
Limit public and private gatherings to 8 people. Record COVID hospitalizations are straining hospitals. Restricting social contacts is critical to stopping the spread of COVID. Please reconsider any plans to gather with people outside of your household, including Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/FmGklCf8FU
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) November 19, 2020
“The virus does not care whether you’re in a public space or private space, so we need to be just as good in private as we are in public,” Cooper said.
“The Rule of 8 needs to be our guide as we enter the holiday season. It should prompt everyone to think with caution when inviting friends over for dinner or going to a baby shower or hosting a game. It’s critical we limit our social contacts to eight, or to one other household at most,” Cooper continued.
Gatherings of more than eight people must be approved by the Metro Public Health Department, and violators of the order will be subject to citation.
Metro Health Department Director Chris Caldwell said during the briefing that the city will be tightening the restrictions on gatherings and looking into things such as whether the event is outside, whether masks will be required, and if alcohol will be served.
“If you’re not allowing eating and drinking and it’s just an event, we’re more secure that masks will likely be on at all times,” said Caldwell. “Each of these criteria we will be looking at, and being more thoughtful, to reduce some of the risks that we see.”
Justin Owen, who is CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, blasted Cooper’s order in a statement to The Center Square:
Today, at the same time the news came that Nashville lags behind the statewide economic recovery, precisely because Mayor Cooper ignores the consequences his mandates have on Nashvillians’ livelihoods, he decided to double down on his failed and ineffective COVID policies.
Now, he wants to barge into our homes and count heads like it’s a game of duck duck goose. Even setting aside the constitutional issues it raises, restricting family gatherings by government force is not an effective solution to dealing with the pandemic anymore than his arbitrary and job-killing restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other businesses.
Cooper’s order comes as other leaders nationwide are cracking down on Thanksgiving gatherings. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Americans against traveling for Thanksgiving. As The Daily Wire reported:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday urged Americans not to travel over Thanksgiving, instead recommending that they gather virtually to celebrate the traditional family holiday.
“The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members, from coming together in this family gathering, actually could end up being hospitalized and severely ill and die,” the agency’s COVID-19 incident manager, Dr. Henry Walke, said during a press conference Thursday. “CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period.”
But for Americans who decide to have Thanksgiving dinner with people outside of their households, all should wear masks at gatherings, according to the new updated guidelines.
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