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Knox Co. health board passes social gathering regulation as official predicts ‘unprecedented surge’ for COVID-19 in coming days

The Knox County Board of Health passed a regulation to limit social gatherings of more than 10 people in light of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 3:13 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2020 at 7:32 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knox County Board of Health passed a regulation to limit social gatherings of more than 10 people in light of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The regulation is targeted at specific circumstances. It applies to:

  • People 12 and older who are not a part of the same household
  • Gatherings held in a 360-square-feet space, especially within 30 feet of an establishment that serves alcohol onsite

The new regulation does not apply to:

  • Nursing homes, retirement homes, long-term care facilities or assisted living facilities
  • Places of worship, weddings, funerals
  • Private dwellings or homes
  • Places owned, leased or managed by the government
  • Public or private schools
  • Waiting areas or terminals for public or common transportation
  • Health care facilities
  • Gatherings for the purpose of therapeutic support for people suffering from addiction, mental illness or similar groups
  • Gatherings for the purpose of political protest or activity, expression of First Amendment rights
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness, including those in shelters and encampments

The regulation, which passed 7-3, goes into effect December 4 with no sunset date, but it will be up for reconsideration at the start of January.

LIVE: Knox Co. BOH discussing gathering limits

LIVE: The Knox County Board of Health is expected to discuss a limit on gathering sizes.

Posted by WVLT on Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The resolution comes as Knox County sees record-breaking numbers in the fight against the pandemic. On Wednesday, KCHD reported its second-highest one-day increase in cases.

The highest increase was reported on Tuesday with 437 cases. Due to the record increase, the benchmark for community-wide sustained reduction or stability in new cases is red.

A data analyst with the University of Tennessee Medical Center presented data on COVID-19 in Knox County said Wednesday evening that they expect an “unprecedented surge multiplier” in the coming days. Keith Britt told the Knox County Board of Health that there is no data available yet on the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday, but they expect that soon.

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