Country star John Rich is refusing to force patrons of his Nashville, Tennessee restaurant to wear face masks inside the establishment because he doesn't want to "overreach".
The singer recently reopened his Redneck Riviera bar and eatery after local coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased, and while face coverings are mandatory for his staffmembers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, he isn't introducing the new rule for customers, preferring instead to trust each person to do the right thing for themselves.
Asked if he's worried about asymptomatic people frequenting his venue and unknowingly spreading the virus, he told U.S. breakfast show Today, "I think that personal responsibility is a big thing right now.
"I've seen certain governments around our country, I think, overreach with people. I think you got to treat us like adults (sic)."
Rich, who is an outspoken supporter of the Republican Party, insists patrons are well aware how serious the coronavirus situation is, so they are already taking their own precautions when dining out.
"We're all very well aware that this virus is deadly. This virus is nasty and... you don't want to transmit it," he said.
"And so a lot of our customers are actually wearing masks when they come in. We also have masks on hand if they don't have one and (we) offer them one."
And the musician and business owner believes his relaxed approach to the use of face masks is paying off: "A great thing I've noticed, and I check in with my management every single day at Redneck Riviera, I say, 'Has anyone broken rules or tried to get too close or argue with you about any of the rules?' and the answer has been, 'Absolutely not.' And I think that's a testament to people's personal responsibility right now," he added.