The owner of Kid Rock‘s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock ‘n’ Roll Steakhouse in Nashville is defying a request by Mayor John Cooper to close bars and limit the number of people dining at restaurants to slow the spread of coronavirus, calling it “unconstitutional.”

Steve Smith released a statement Sunday saying the venue plans to stay open unless there’s a statewide mandate. Kid Rock, real name Robert James Richie, has not commented on his partner’s decision to remain open.

“We appreciate the efforts of Mayor Cooper to combat the COVID-19 virus,” Smith’s statement said, “but unless there’s a statewide mandate that directs all bars and restaurants to be closed, the request made by Mayor Cooper is unconstitutional as he is targeting a select group of businesses.”

#UPDATE: Steve Smith, the owner of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Steakhouse & The Diner, responds to @JohnCooper4Nash’s call for Broadway bars to close amid #COVID19 concerns. @WKRN

— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) March 15, 2020

The Tennessee Department of Health reports 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state as of Monday. Nashville is still recovering



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