Tennessee restaurants, retailers to open at 50% capacity next week

Businesses will be allowed to reopen soon under modified guidelines. (Screenshot courtesy www.tn.gov)
Businesses will be allowed to reopen soon under modified guidelines. (Screenshot courtesy www.tn.gov)

Businesses will be allowed to reopen soon under modified guidelines. (Screenshot courtesy www.tn.gov)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced during an April 23 press conference that restaurants and retail locations in most counties across the state will be allowed to reopen next week following several weeks of closures.

Restaurants will be allowed to open April 27, and retailers will be allowed to reopen April 29.

"The data that we have right now shows that we are prepared to take the first step in Phase 1, and for us, what that means is opening up retail and restaurants," Lee said. "We'll be making decisions about the remainder of businesses that will be opened in this Phase 1, and then, we will follow data, and we will follow guidelines, and we will watch what's happening across our state because the pubic safety is of utmost importance to us. Social distancing is a critical component of every one of our guidelines that we'll be bringing forth for opening each one of these businesses. That's the way that we''ll remain safe."

Both industries will be required to operate at 50% capacity to allow fewer people to gather at one time, and businesses will need to follow additional guidelines to prevent a spike in new cases.

Lee said the state will announce April 24 detailed guidelines for the first round of industry reopenings. For now, Lee has only confirmed that restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to reopen; he said the state will monitor data before deciding how to reopen additional businesses.


"As we consider federal best practices, we want to be very clear that not every industry will be in a position to open safely, immediately," Lee said.

This announcement does not apply to Davidson County, which will operate under its own reopening guidelines, according to an announcement from Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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