Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee told Outkick founder Clay Travis on Wednesday morning that the state of Tennessee should be hosting outdoor sporting events at full capacity.
During the interview, Travis noted the names of outdoor stadiums in other states that have been resuming at full capacity and asked Lee whether he wanted the same for sports in Tennessee, such as for outdoor sports at the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis.
Lee responded, “absolutely,” saying that any adults who choose to attend packed outdoor sporting events have had the opportunity to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated since last month. “It’s now up to individuals to make those kinds of decisions,” said the governor.
“Frankly, I’m hoping that the Preds play at full-capacity at Bridgestone,” said the governor, suggesting that full-capacity sporting events at indoor venues could also soon be on the table. The governor, toward the end of the interview, noted that “sports gives you hope in the middle of an otherwise bleak situation.”
After the interview, Lee made his stance on indoor sports even more clear, tweeting: “It’s time. Indoor and outdoor sporting events should happen without caps on attendance or other arbitrary measures.”
It’s time. Indoor and outdoor sporting events should happen without caps on attendance or other arbitrary measures. https://t.co/0vKWUZOdId
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) May 5, 2021
Lee said some COVID-19 adjustments used to make sense, but now, circumstances have changed.
“We can’t make decisions based on the fact that someone might get infected. That’s going to be true from here on forward. So we should live life, we should open for business, and we should move ahead with what we’ve got,” he said.
Several weeks ago, Lee lifted local mask mandates across Tennessee and declared that the pandemic — although still affecting some state residents — was no longer considered a crisis that required government interventions and sweeping public health mandates. His action affected all but the six health departments over which he doesn’t have power.
“Anyone can get a vaccine today, no appointment necessary,” said Lee. “I got a vaccine. It’s safe, it’s the most effective way to manage our health, and more Tennesseans are doing that every day.”
Although Nashville hasn’t been as quick to adopt the new changes — the Democratic mayor announced the same day that all capacity restrictions would expire May 14, but the mask mandate would remain in place for longer — Governor Lee told Outkick that Music City feels like itself once again.
“We’re open, we’d like you to be here. We want to have concerts and conventions and parades and proms, and it’s time,” said the governor. “We’re in a new season, it’s time to move on.”
“With vaccine available to every single person in the state — no waiting lines, you know, can walk up to every health department and get vaccines — that changes everything. And from my perspective, it means that people have evaluated their risks and they’ve made their own personal decisions based on the risk that they see to them, and the government now needs to get out of the way, because the time for health interventions is over,” said Lee.