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Country star John Rich explains why he's not mandating masks at his restaurant

“I think that personal responsibility is a big thing right now,” John Rich said.
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/ Source: TODAY

Restaurants around the country are continuing to reopen after being ordered to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. How they will operate under new guidelines remains a question millions are asking.

Country music star John Rich, who owns Redneck Riviera (a bar and restaurant in Nashville), is one of many restaurateurs who recently opened the doors to his establishment again.

Earlier this month, Rich wore a mask when his eatery reopened and is also requiring his employees do the same — but customers can decide whether or not to don a facial covering inside.

Rich joined Craig Melvin Friday during the 3rd hour of TODAY to explain how he's handling business. Melvin asked the singer if he was concerned that asymptomatic people coming to his restaurant may contribute to the spread of the deadly virus.

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“I think that personal responsibility is a big thing right now,” Rich said. “I’ve seen certain governments around our country, I think, overreach with people. I think you got to treat us like adults."

While restaurants across the board — from fast-food chains like McDonald's to higher-end eateries — have set their own operating parameters as they get back to business, Rich said he thinks Americans know just how serious this health crisis is and that his customers tend to wear masks without being asked.

“We’re all very well aware that this virus is deadly. This virus is nasty and that you don’t want to transmit it," Rich 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 offer them one."

While some people may be opposed to wearing masks, Rich said his clientele has been very understanding since he reopened his Nashville restaurant.

“And 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,’" he said. “And I think that’s a testament to people’s personal responsibility right now.”