Gov. Lee releases guidelines for Tennessee businesses to begin reopening

Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 11:34 AM EDT
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Governor Bill Lee released detailed information about the steps ahead as restaurants and stores begin to reopen across Tennessee.

The new guidelines apply to 89 counties. Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan Counties will have a separate set of guidelines not released yet.

“Tennesseans pulled together to flatten the curve, and it is time for people to begin to get back to work and back to their businesses,” Lee said. “We are pursuing a careful, measured approach to reopening our economy that does not depend on heavy-handed mandates but instead provides practical tools for businesses of all sizes.”

Restaurants will be allowed to reopen Monday at 50 percent occupancy. Additionally, Tennessee retailers are able to reopen on Wednesday at 50 percent occupancy.

The state recommends that employees in both industries wear cloth

face coverings and that business owners follow federal guidelines for hygiene and workplace sanitation standards related to the pandemic.

The new guidelines for restaurants include the following:

• Wear face coverings and gloves

• Report any symptoms of illness to supervisor

• Follow daily sanitation protocols

• Limit occupancy to 50% of seating capacity

• Space tables 6 feet apart

• Limit seating to 6 per table

• Use social distancing standards in waiting areas

• Keep bar areas closed

• No live music

• Screen customers with basic questions about COVID-19


New guidelines for retailers include the following:

• Wear dedicated cloth face coverings, gloves, and other personal protection

items as recommended by the CDC

• Report any symptoms of illness to supervisor

• Provide training on personal protective equipment based on CDC guidelines

• Sanitize hands with soap and/or hand sanitizer

• Stagger shifts, breaks, and meals to maintain social distancing

Protecting Customers

• Limit customer occupancy to 50% of store capacity

• Customers should wear face coverings inside stores

• Consider shopping hours for the elderly, medically vulnerable, and health care workers

• Establish one-way aisles and traffic patterns for social distancing

• Increase curbside, pickup, and delivery service options

• Prompt customers regarding the importance of social distancing

“Like the rest of the country, Tennessee has taken an unprecedented economic hit with families and small businesses feeling the most pain,” Lee said. “We must stay vigilant as a state, continue to practice social distancing, and engage in best practices at our businesses so that we can stay open.”

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