NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Acme Feed & Seed will be closing its doors temporarily, saying that Metro Government isn’t doing enough to protect them and their customers.
"What we have learned is without enforcement of the mandates, those of us who follow them are penalized," said Acme Feed & Seed Owner Tom Morales in a news release. "Lack of enforcement has given the rule breakers the economic advantage and fosters a free for all, and a general disrespect for our hospitality community. We see the lack of enforcement of their own mandates by the city as the determining factor in our decision to close Acme until science says it's safe."
Acme Feed & Seed closed in March when the city asked businesses to close as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a threat to the collective health of the city, a country and world. Acme furloughed 200 employees, allowing them to keep their benefits, insurance and assurance they had a job on the other side of the crisis.
"The messages from our federal leadership was and continues to be muddled, so we decided as a company we would listen to science. Our decisions would be primarily based on the safety of our staff and customers, followed by the economics of operating in this climate," said Morales. "We needed strong leadership to set the example for a path forward, leadership never came."
Morales’s daughter, Kendall Morales, is the Director of Events and sales for Tomkats hospitality. She says that this is especially hard to do but sees no other option.
“We were all Born and raised in Nashville, so you know it’s really sad to see,” she says.
“When we have people coming in and saying well, down here we were able to do this, over here we were able to do this… It’s hard for us then to justify. Well then you know, here you have to do this. It’s not the local community that is coming downtown right now. It’s a lot of tourists coming from different states and nobody is at fault, they don’t know the local rules in Nashville,” she says.
Metro Police tell us that Sunday through Thursday there are ten officers that conduct health order enforcement checks. On Friday and Saturday, there are forty-four officers that conduct the checks.
“Our main objective is to encourage compliance through warnings, education, and even providing masks,” a Metro Police spokesperson told News4.
Metro Police went on to say that officers are "doing their best" when it comes to enforcing the mandate. They say officers go into the venues if there are known problems. They add that they focus their attention to heavily congregated areas outside the bars.
Acme says they intend to “listen to the science when it comes to when they will reopen to the public."
“With a spike of COVID cases happening in Tennessee, we felt like this is the safest and right decision to make at this time. We’re going to continue to remain true to what the CDC says, what the Tennessee Health Department says, and I mean right now that is wearing a mask,” Morales says.