Christian personal finance guru and staunch anti-lockdown advocate Dave Ramsey hosted a 1000-person ‘Boots and BBQ’ Christmas party for staff at his Tennessee-based company and allegedly encouraged workers at the event not to wear masks.
The indoor soiree was held on Saturday night at Ramsey Solutions’ headquarters in Franklin, the Nashville Scene reported.
The party was reportedly so large that guests were handed maps upon arrival to direct them to the event’s various open bars, a pop-up casino, and a ‘silent disco’ area, where they drank and line-danced together throughout the night.
Outside the venue there were igloos, dessert food trucks and horse and carriage rides on offer.
One worker of the event told the Scene that there were at least 1,000 guests inside the building – the vast majority of whom were not wearing masks – along with several dozen workers.
Speaking on the grounds of anonymity, the worker claims superiors were told by Ramsey Solutions that is was preferred workers did not wear masks or gloves at the event, so as not to make guest ‘uncomfortable’.
‘There was absolutely no [social] distancing being practiced,’ the worker claimed. ‘It was the most people I’ve seen gathered in a year … it was kind of bizarre.’
Christian personal finance guru and staunch anti-lockdown advocate Dave Ramsey hosted a 1000-person ‘Boots and BBQ’ Christmas party for staff at his company on Saturday night
One attendee shared an image inside the party to Twitter, along with a picture of their event lanyard.
Dave Ramsey is a hugely influential figure in personal finance, boasting an audience of more than 17 million radio and podcast listeners – a large number of whom are Christian – who he has routinely preached COVID-19 conspiracy theories to.
In staff meetings and on his show, Ramsey has also referred to lockdown measures as ‘totalitarian’ and urged listeners not to be ‘ruled by fear’ or fall for the ‘hoax’ of mask wearing and soaring death rates, according to the Tennessean.
When the pandemic first began in March, Ramsey kept his company’s offices open, with staff continuing to work on site even after a number of employees tested positive.
The company did allow staff to work from home during the initial weeks of the pandemic if preferred, but has required them to return to company headquarters since May.
Ramsey Solutions also does not require masks to be worn inside its offices. Dave Ramsey himself has previously stated he wanted to ‘start a crusade’ against mask mandates.
In total the company has around 100 employees test positive for COVID-19.
Of that number, around 50 were reported in mid-November, Ramsey Solutions Executive Director of Human Resources Armando Lopez told staff in a November 13 call, as reported by the Tennessean.
State wide, Tennessee hit its highest spike in cases in a 24 hour period on Sunday – the day after Ramsey’s party – with 11,352 new infections reported.
At least 5,462 Tennesseans have died of COVID-19 since March, and more than 2,600 are currently hospitalized with the illness.
Despite the troubling surge, on Saturday night lines of cars reportedly stretched bumper-to-bumper for nearly two miles outside Ramsey Solutions’ headquarters.
A private security details was reportedly deployed outside to ensure only invited guests were permitted entry, while several local media outlets reported being ‘escorted’ away with the company keen to keep prying eyes away from the party.
One reporter who captured video of the lines of cars was reportedly tailed by what appeared to be a security vehicle and followed from company headquarters all the way back to the interstate, the Scene reported.
The indoor soiree was held on Saturday night at Ramsey Solutions’ headquarters in Franklin (above)
At least 5,462 Tennesseans have died of COVID-19 since March, and more than 2,600 are currently hospitalized with the illness
Many of the caterers and serving staff said they felt obligated to serve at the party for fear of losing future contracts, at a time when event companies are being decimated by the ongoing pandemic.
Workers were reportedly offered limited information by the company ahead of the holiday party, but were reportedly told it was preferable they didn’t wear masks or gloves so as not to make guests ‘uncomfortable’.
Regardless, the majority of staff still opted to wear them, one worker said. There was also a pile of masks provided near the entrance of the party for guests, though few allegedly obliged the offer.
Local and state officials did not intervene to enforce social distancing rule at or outside the event. It’s unclear if they were aware of the planned party beforehand.
Williamson County, where the party was hosted, does have a mask mandate in place though it applies only to ‘publicly accessible’ areas and businesses which does not include corporate offices.
A spokesperson for the state health department confirmed the agency would ‘not have any jurisdiction’ over the event because it was held on private property.
The state does not currently have a restriction on gatherings. Six counties do, including Nashville, but Williamson is not included.
Attempts to reach Ramsey Solutions by local media went unanswered. DailyMail.com has also not heard back.
However in an internal memo written to staff, company spokesperson Megan McConnell warned: ‘If and when you see controversial or negative things about Dave or RS on social, please do not defend us or engage with it. That just boosts the post’s visibility (and we’re not concerned about those people anyway).’
Dave Ramsey is a hugely influential figure in personal finance, boasting an audience of more than 17 million radio and podcast listeners – a large number of whom are Christian – who he has routinely preached COVID-19 conspiracy theories to
One attendee did share an image inside the party to Twitter, along with a picture of their event lanyard.
‘Maggie and I had were blessed to be @ the @RamseySolutions Christmas Party, last night!’ wrote Brytton Rogers. ‘Thanks to Dave, The Board, & the Christmas Team for hosting such an amazing event, as we close 2020!’
In one of the images shared by Rogers, he is seen posing with a woman in front of a Christmas tree. Neither of the pair depicted is wearing a facemask.
Dave Ramsey is reportedly well known for throwing ‘legendary’ parties, according to the Tennessean.
This is also not the first large event his company has hosted during the pandemic. In July, Ramsey Solutions held its ‘Entre Leadership Summit’.
The event was originally scheduled to be held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando, but Ramsey moved the event to its Franklin offices after the center informed the company of significant COVID restrictions, including mask checks and limited access to the pool and other amenities.
In a lawsuit later filed by Ramsey Solutions, they claimed the change of venue cost the company $10 million in lost revenue.
During a staff meeting after Thanksgiving, Ramsey reportedly continued his criticism of those who are ruled by ‘fear’ of COVID-19 and are ‘freaking out’ due to the pandemic.
‘They have got fear, they have trepidation on the COVID, they are scared to death about whether or not they are meeting all the social cues on fear and masks and temperature controls,’ according to a recording obtained by RNS.
By contrast, Ramsey assured workers that the company would not be ruled by fear.
‘Fear is not a fruit of the spirit,’ he reportedly said. ‘It is not on the list. And so, while sometimes I am afraid, I do not make decisions — and I do not let my behaviors be — dictated by fear unless it involves getting out of the way of a car that is coming toward me.’