Statement of Support for the Board of Health Issued by Local Business Owners

City Skyline, Knoxville, April 2020

In an apparent response to the pressures put on the Knox County Board of Health, a group of about 60 business leaders issued a statement of support to the group. They called for the County Commission to leave the composition and role of the board as it is. (Ed. At the request of readers I’ve added names of businesses. Any errors there are mine.) A petition of support by citizens has now gained over 1500 signatures.

September 25 2020

The undersigned small business leaders firmly believe the Knox County Board of Health should continue to operate as an independent board, making decisions and mandates based on science and free from the influence of politics and politicians. The current Board members act based on data – measurables that they’ve learned over the course of the Pandemic – and in the best interest of all businesses (and residents) of Knox County.

Everyday we, as business owners, are tasked with keeping our folks employed and safe. In doing so, we keep the economy moving forward and help to bring in tax revenue, which allows our local governments to continue to operate and provide the services so critical to our community. We have been able to continue to do this because we can count on the Board of Health to provide us with an objective set of guidelines (based on science and history) with which to operate our businesses and mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and its effect on our community and economy.

If we dismantle the Board of Health or compromise the objective, science-based nature of it, we risk abandoning the gains we’ve made since March. We risk a spike in cases and potentially the safety of our frontline health care workers, the health of employees who are face-to-face with customers every day in Knox County and the citizenry, in general. In addition, such a spike would likely result in more stringent and necessary closures county-wide, as well as a loss of consumer confidence in the ability to go out for services/products locally. This would mean dire employment consequences and a tax revenue shortfall, which would affect essential services county-wide.

We are urging the County government to leave the Board of Health in place, in its current composition. We believe this is doubly important as we all head indoors for fall and winter, which will make things like mask-wearing and social distancing more important than ever.


Concerned Business Leaders of Knox County

Robyn Jarvis Askew (Lewis Thomason Law Firm)

Tasha C. Blakney (Eldridge and Blakney Law Firm)

Billy Blount (William Blount and Associate Insurance)

Thomas Boyd (Barley’s, Merchants of Beer and more)

Chyna Brackeen (Attack Monkey Productions)

Dustin Burnett (Nothing Too Fancy)

Scott Busby (Smee+Busby Architects)

Ashley Capps (AC Entertainment)

Gray Comer (Private Guitar Lessons)

Lisa Cyr (Nothing Too Fancy)

Jeffrey DeAlejandro (Hen Hoc, OliBea)

Lisa Duncan (Lisa Duncan Marketing)

Robin Easter (Robin Easter Design)

David M. Eldridge (Eldridge and Blakney Law Firm)

Brian Ewers (Dollar and Ewers Architecture)

Preston Farabow (Aespyre)

Matt Gallaher (Emilia, Knox Mason)

Leigh Ann Garrett (Garrett Construction)

Julie Gause (J. Gause Digital)

Bettina Hamblin (Knox Pharmacy)

Katy Hawley (Cyrious Productions)

Bryan Howington (Central Flats and Taps)

Kelly Johnson (Johnson Family of Restaurants)

Sadie Klonel (Knox Revival Paint Company)

Sara Martin (Open Door Architecture)

Sean Martin (Open Door Architecture)

Preston Matthews (Brown Squirrel Furniture)

Eric Ohlgren (Public House)

Brandon Pace (Sanders Pace Architects)

Allison Page (Discovery, Inc.)

Meg Parrish (Java, Wild Love Bakehouse, Pearl)

Shaun Parrish (Java, Wild Love Bakehouse, Pearl)

Scott Partin (Tomato Head)

Christian Prestegaard (Urban Bar and Grill)

Sharon Pryse (The Trust Company)

Nina Reineri (Breast Connect, Inc., Ascertainment Marketing, Inc.)

John Sanders (Sanders Pace Architects)

Scott Schimmel (Bliss, Bliss Home)

Kelvin Scott (Kelvin Scott Violins)

Ron Sherrill (Phoenix Pharmacy, Care Max Home Health)

Gregor Smee (Smee+Busby Architects)

Lisa Sorensen (Bliss, Bliss Home)

Marshall Stair (Lewis Thomason Law Firm)

Megan Stair (214 Magnolia)

Brian Strutz (A Dopo)

Jessica Strutz (A Dopo)

Robert Twilley (The Production Hive)

Mahasti Vafaie (Tomato Head)

Jesse Wagner (Nathanna)

Adrienne Webster (AOW Accounting and Tax Services)

Stanton Webster (Post Modern Distilling)

Zak Weisfeld (Lusid Media)

Jessie Weiss (Jessica Weiss Jewelry and Studio)

Chad Wiles (Coldwell Banker)

Lisa Wiles (Mortgage Investors Group)

Alisha Wilson (The Hair Goddess Studio)

Jonathan Wimmer (Johnson Family of Restaurants)