Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced this morning a plan called “Tennessee Pledge” to re-open restaurants and retail stores during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pledge is to protect employees and customers during the outbreak.
Starting Monday, April 27, 2020, restaurants across the state unless in the six largest cities in Tennessee will open. Restaurants will be allowed to open if they commit to having at most 50 percent capacity, space dining tables 6’ apart, close any bar areas of the restaurant and have no live music inside the restaurants. Bar establishments will remain closed for now and will be re-evaluated sometime in May.
On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, retail stores across the state unless in the six largest cities in Tennessee will open. Businesses will be allowed to open if they commit to having at most 50 percent capacity, employees wear cloth masks, utilize frequent cleaning and sanitizing of the store and maintain social distancing. Hair salons, tattoo parlors and barber shops will remain closed and will be re-evaluated in May.
Information regarding hospitals and doctor offices will be released in a few days. As of now, no elected surgeries remain in place until further notice.
Employees of businesses opening Monday and Wednesday are strongly suggested to have their temperature checked regularly and wear cloth masks while on the job.
Officials say this “is not returning to business as usual, but a gradual return to get the economy in the state going again.”
When asked how these new guidelines will be enforced, state officials say it will be done by each individual business and restaurant owner or managers.
Next week, guidance will be announced regarding churches and gym re-openings.
Governor Lee said they will be watching the numbers of COVID-19 during the re-opening phase and if the numbers spike, different actions will be taken. Those actions could be a return to the Safer at Home or Stay at Home order or implementing a Shelter in Place order.
So far the State of Tennessee lost $5 billion dollars in revenue from COVID-19.