NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Public Health Department says it will “pursue appropriate penalties” against the organizer of a worship gathering attended by thousands of people over the weekend in downtown Nashville.
The “Let Us Worship” event was held at 5 p.m. Sunday outside of the Metro Courthouse. Videos circulating on social media showed thousands of people crammed together with no social distancing or masks in sight.
The organizer of the event, Sean Feucht posted to Twitter that a police officer he spoke with estimated 9,000 to 10,000 worshippers attended the gathering.
“It’s officially a protest, so it’s legal,” Feucht said in a video posted to his social media.
In a statement released Monday morning, Brian Todd, the spokesperson for the Metro Public Health Department said the department was working with other Metro agencies to investigate and would “pursue appropriate penalties against the organizer.”
Todd added the event organizer did not submit an application to the health department or a permit application to any Metro department.
Metro Interim Police Chief John Drake issued a statement Monday afternoon and said, in part, “I am greatly disappointed that the organizer of Sunday’s event and those in attendance did not better prioritize their health and the health of others through social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.”
He added, “personal responsibility is a necessity regardless of the purpose for a public event.”
“Going forward, the police department will work with its Metro government partners, including the Health Department, to more effectively facilitate proactive contact with any future event organizers to explain Nashville’s public health and safety expectations,” the chief explained.
Chief Drake said the organizer of Sunday’s gathering did not contact the police department ahead of time and officers were not present at the event.