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Knox Co. Parks and Recreation announces changes to COVID-19 policies starting Wednesday

The department said the changes are part of the county's move to the Tennessee Pledge, Governor Bill Lee's plan for reopening the state's economy.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The Knox County Parks and Recreation Department will make changes to its COVID-19 policies starting Wednesday, as the county begins following the Tennessee Pledge.

The county decided to move to Governor Bill Lee's reopening plan on June 17, ending local reopening guidelines in favor of the statewide guidelines. While much of Knox County's guidelines were similar to the Tennesse Pledge, there will be some changes.

Restrooms at the county's sports facilities and recreation areas will be shut down periodically so staff can clean them throughout the day. Water fountains will also be closed starting Wednesday, and bleachers will not be available for spectators and patrons.

Officials said that clubs for non-contact sports like softball, baseball and volleyball can use fields for games, drills and tournaments. However, people playing contact sports will only be able to use fields for drills. Players, officials and spectators will need to follow social distancing requirements.

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Officials with the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department also said that high school and college sports may fall under different rules and regulations, but that staff members have not received those regulations as of Tuesday.

Clubs can also only rent athletic fields at specific facilities, according to officials.

People will also not be allowed to chew tobacco or sunflower seeds near or on athletic fields. Officials said that people who violate this policy will be asked to leave the facility.

All clubs and tournament directors must also submit a written plan and a signed contract on how they will adhere to the Tennessee Pledge to officials. They are also asking spectators to wear face coverings while at facilities.

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