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Mayor Kincannon declares State of Emergency in Knoxville due to COVID-19; senior centers to close by end of day

Monday's announcement gives the city more flexibility to take action against coronavirus. Tennessee already is under a state of emergency.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mayor Indya Kincannon declared a "State of Emergency" in Knoxville on Monday, a move to give the city more flexibility to take legal and budgetary action to stop the spread of COVID-19.

She also said in a press release that she is working with the Knox County Health Department and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs to close all senior centers by the end of Monday. Officials conferred Monday about the closures.  Older adults and people with serious medical conditions are vulnerable to the virus.

The Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Operations Center was also partially activated.

The city also conferred with business owners downtown and in the Old City area to cancel the St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl. It was originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.

The mayor also issued recommendations for restaurants anywhere that serve food or drinks to follow as COVID-19 spreads: 

  • Encourage all restaurants to utilize takeout and delivery services.
  • Limit seating to 50 percent of capacity.
  • Separate occupied tables by at least 6 feet.

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There are 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee, with one reported in Knox County. A handful of others are in East Tennessee, including a newly announced case Monday from Sevier County.

“By declaring a State of Emergency we can make decisions more quickly, in essence speeding up help and supplies to those who need it most,” Mayor Kincannon said in a press release.

RELATED: Gov. Lee urging all Tennessee schools to close "as soon as practically possible" amid COVID-19 outbreak

RELATED: List of cancellations, closings in Knoxville and East Tennessee due to coronavirus concerns