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Is it too soon to reopen Tennessee? Answering your questions about the plan

Many are concerned Governor Bill Lee's plan to reopen Tennessee next week is too soon—wondering if it will cause a spike in COVID-19 cases.

There seem to be more questions than answers right now when it comes to Governor Bill Lee's decision to reopen Tennessee's economy next week.

We received a number of messages and comments from viewers worried about Governor Bill Lee's decision.

The biggest one being— why now? Federal guidelines released last week say there must be a downward trend in COVID-19 cases for 14 days in order to start phase one of reopening.

The state said the governor and health commissioner decided since the number of cases is gradually flattening statewide, it is safe enough to get industry back open.

RELATED: Gov. Lee: Tennessee's Safer at Home order will expire April 30, allowing most businesses to reopen

Knox County said in a briefing on Tuesday it's following the state's lead and evaluating local data to come up with a specialized plan to reopen next week as well.

"We've decided to follow the guidance from the from the governor and to do a slow, phased database reopening giving guidance to businesses and to the public on how to keep themselves safe," Dr. Martha Buchanan, the director of Knox County Health Department explained.

But people are wondering: is it too soon? Will COVID-19 cases start to spike again after businesses reopen?

"I think the reality is we will see some increase in cases, people getting out and mingling a little bit more is gonna cause a slight increase in cases," Buchanan said.

RELATED: Mayor Glenn Jacobs announces furloughs for some Knox County employees

Both the state and Knox County Health Departments said this gradual, phased reopening doesn't mean everything is going back to normal right away.

"This is not back to pre-pandemic, everybody, just go do what you want to do," Buchanan noted. "We're still going to advise people to be thoughtful about their trips, to wear a mask, to wash their hands, to stay home."

When it comes to going back to work next week, the health department said employees should do what they feel is safest.

"The reality is, if it's working for the employer and the employees, continuing to work from home can can happen as long as they want it to," Buchanan explained.

If you do have to go back to the office, social distancing and following CDC guidelines are important.

RELATED: Transitioning back to work won't mean returning to a normal routine

We will know more info on what businesses and industries are able to reopen once a final plan is drafted both on the state and local level.

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