Workers who catered the company Christmas party of Tennessee-based personal financial guru Dave Ramsey were instructed not to wear gloves and masks to the event — even though hundreds were expected to attend and coronavirus cases in the state have been steadily rising in recent weeks, according to a complaint obtained by NBC affiliate WSMV.
The complaint, which was filed Dec. 12 with the city of Franklin, Tenn. — where Ramsey’s company, Ramsey Solutions, is based — was confirmed Monday by city administrator Eric Stuckey.
The vendor who filed the complaint, whose name was redacted by WSMV, said Ramsey Solutions told workers to ditch the protective gear so as not to "scare those in attendance.”
Between 700 and 900 people were expected to attend the Dec. 12 party, according to the complaint.
In a story published Monday by the Huffington Post and local newspaper the Nashville Scene, an unnamed employee of Ramsey Solutions told the outlets that at least 1,000 people appeared to be in attendance, most of them without masks.
“There was absolutely no distancing being practiced,” the employee said, the outlets reported.
Ramsey, who founded the company in 1992 and renamed it Ramsey Solutions six years ago, describes himself as “America’s most trusted voice on money and business.” He hosts a nationally-syndicated radio show and has authored books like “The Total Money Makeover” and “Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money.”
The company’s website says that employees spend months "eagerly anticipating" its “one-of-a-kind” Christmas party. The Huffington Post and Nashville Scene reports described indoor line dancing, a fake casino, several open bars and a “silent disco.”
Ramsey Solutions did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Stuckey told NBC News that he advised senior company officials about the complaint on the same day it was filed.
“Senior executives at Ramsey indicated that they had no prohibition on the wearing of masks or gloves by their employees or vendors,” he said.
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He added that local officials in Franklin, which is roughly 20 miles south of Nashville, have urged people to follow the guidance of scientists and public health professionals. He noted, however, that most of Tennessee’s 95 counties do not allow coronavirus restrictions on private gatherings.
Williamson County, where Franklin is located, has a mask mandate, Stuckey said — but it only applies to public areas and areas within a business that are open to the public.
The county has recorded nearly 14,000 coronavirus infections and 100 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the Johns Hopkins University Resource Center. More than 450,000 cases have been confirmed across Tennessee, with some of the sharpest increases in daily cases coming this month, according to university data.
As of Monday, 5,462 people have died in the state, according to an NBC News tally.