Knox County restaurants test out mask requirements

Restaurants and customers have been figuring out who should be wearing masks and for how long.
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 7:46 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The number of new coronavirus cases in Knox County is up with three new deaths over the past three days.

With the mask order in place, restaurants and customers have been figuring out who should be wearing them and for how long.

For Ken and Kathleen Sherfick, Monday marks their first time eating at a restaurants since before the pandemic.

“This is going to be our very first restaurant,” said Kathleen Sherfick.

They planned to wear masks until their food arrived.

“I’m sure they have things in place. If not, we’re getting takeout,” explained Kathleen Sherfick.

Copper Cellar Chief Operating Officer, Bart Fricks, says he sent this email to his team on Thursday July 2, after the mask order had been approved by the Knox County Board of Health.

Fricks clarified “they” often refers to “the customers” (see full email below,) “Do they [customers] have to have a mask? The health department would like them to, but can’t require it.”

Bart Fricks confirmed he sent this email to Ashley Bohle
Bart Fricks confirmed he sent this email to Ashley Bohle(Email/Bart Fricks)

“Our primary tool will continue to be informing, educating and enabling people and businesses to be compliant with this mandate,” explained Dr. Martha Buchanan at a press conference on Monday in regards to enforcement about the mask order in public buildings.

As for what that looks like, the health department said it was still figuring out details and working with other “community partners.”

Knox Co. Sheriff Tom Spangler was not available for comment about how he plans or does not plan to implement the order.

Sherficks said she believes they can safely begin to venture outside, as long as those around them mask up.

“It’s an adventure. We haven’t been out in so long, it’s kind of exciting,” said Kathleen Sherfick.

The Knox County Health Department said as of Monday, it has received seven complaints on food establishments and 21 complaints on other, non-food establishments.

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