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Restaurants, retail capacity limits lifted

Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

The state of Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group will lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail to instead focus on social distancing best practices effective Friday and issue guidelines to facilitate the safe reopening of larger, non-contact attractions on or after May 22.

Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual, county-specific reopening plans created in consultation with state and local health departments.

“Tennesseans have worked incredibly hard to do their part and help slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our state can begin to reopen,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “Thanks to their continued efforts, we’re able to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate at greater capacity and large attractions to open in a safe and thoughtful way.

“Our state continues to see downward trends in case growth and meets the White House criteria for a phased reopening. This progress has been hard-won, and we can build upon it by reopening while also maintaining common-sense safety measures like mask-wearing and good hygiene. By taking the Tennessee Pledge, our businesses can reopen in a way that protects the health of their customers and employees, and protects the livelihoods of hard-working Tennesseans.”

The new Large Attractions guidance applies to those businesses that can effectively practice social distancing with strong measures to protect both employees and customers, including racetracks, amusement parks, waterparks, theaters and dinner theaters, auditoriums, large museums and more.

Restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people remain in place for the time being.

Updates to Restaurant Guidance will include a lift on capacity restrictions, allowing for increased service as long as social distancing guidelines are adhered to, including 6 feet between tables.

Lee was expected to issue new guidance early this week.

The state has 18,011 confirmed cases as of May 18 with 301 deaths. Moore County still has just three confirmed cases. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, all three patients have recovered.