State releases new guidelines for attractions, restaurants, retail

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Gov. Bill Lee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and his Economic Recovery Group released guidelines for large venues and attractions to open in 89 Tennessee counties, including Williamson but not Davidson, and updated guidelines for restaurants and retail.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and his Economic Recovery Group released updated guidelines for restaurants and retail as capacity restrictions on those businesses will be lifted and large venues and attractions will be allowed to open on Friday.

“Tennesseans have worked hard to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state, and their efforts have allowed us to continue to reopen our economy further,” Lee said. “These guidelines share best practices to ensure our state’s businesses can continue to operate in a way that protects customers and employees while putting people back to work.”

The state cites a continued “downward trend in case growth, increase in testing capability and sufficient hospital capacity” as reasons for moving forward. As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 18,532 total cases of COVID-19 statewide and an average increase in cases of 1.79% over the past week (0.84% Wednesday, 2% Tuesday, 3.6% Monday, 0.58% Sunday, 1.9% Saturday, 1.6% Friday and 2% last Thursday).

Restaurants and retail businesses, which opened a few weeks ago at 50% capacity, will now be able to open at full capacity under certain restrictions.

Large non-contact venues and attractions will also be able to open within social distancing guidelines. Such venues include concert and performance venues, amusement and water parks, auditoriums, theaters and dinner theaters, zoos, large museums and more.

Listed below are the highlights of the new guidelines for restaurants, retail and large venues and attractions. For all three categories, daily screening of employees and guests and the use of personal protective equipment, such as masks, is still listed among the guidelines.

Restaurant guidelines

• Limit tables to 10 guests, up from six, but continue to space the tables six feet apart.

• Bar areas should remain closed, but live music is permitted if performers are separated from guests by at least 15 feet.

• Install plastic shields between booths if they cannot be separated by six feet, and space counter seating by six feet.

• Keep buffets and self-serve areas closed.

Retail Guidelines

• Limit customers in building to honor social distancing — six feet apart.

• Continue to not allow sample products or reusable bags.

Large Venue and Attractions Guidelines

• Encourage six feet of distance between people and consider limiting contained venues to 50% capacity.

• Limit elevators to a four-person capacity and discourage use of water fountains.

• All minors must have parental or guardian supervision.

• Limit duration of indoor activities or performances. A suggested time limit is not listed.

• Use barriers at ticket windows and clean at least every two hours.

• Sanitize high contact surfaces and shared equipment after each use.

• Live music performers should be at least 15 feet from the audience.

• Amusement parks should consult manufacturers of devices to learn best practices after an extended closure.

• Avoid interactive experiences, such as touch display items, animal encounters at zoos, or performing arts segments where performers and audience members interact on stage or in the crowd.

• Street performances should not be allowed, and playgrounds should remain closed until further notice.

Read the full guidelines for the three sectors below or visit for more information.

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