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What can reopen under Phase 2 of Knox County's reopening plan?

Health data and feedback from businesses and residents helped leaders determine the county was ready to ease restrictions three days ahead of schedules.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — More business and community restrictions in Knox County will be lifted, starting on Tuesday, May 26. 

Most industries can operate in Phase Two if they can maintain safety and health precautions, according to a press release. The full guidelines are posted here.

Health data and feedback from businesses and residents helped leaders determine the county was ready to ease restrictions three days ahead of schedule.

In phase two, it will remain critical that the public continue to practice safe social distancing, wear a facemask, frequently wash their hands, clean and disinfect often, and stay home if you are sick.

Social settings should be limited to 50 people or less during phase two. However, the plan cautions that family groups who live together should still maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

Knox Co. Health Dept. presser 5/22/20

The Knox Co. Health Dept. is providing its daily COVID-19 update, which will include more details on Phase 2 of reopening, which will begin on Tuesday.

Posted by WBIR Channel 10 on Friday, May 22, 2020

"Gatherings are high-risk activities because of the prolonged time spent in the vicinity of the other participants and the increased likelihood of intermittent breaking of physical distancing. Across the nation, many clusters of cases have been traced back to weddings, funerals, house parties, concerts, athletic activities and workplace meetings," according to the plan.

Also in phase two, high-risk people will still be advised to stay at home to reduce their risk of infection.

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The following will reopen under safety guidelines, found here. This is not an exhaustive list, so please read the full guidance for details.

  • Most industries and business offices
  • Restaurant seating can expand as long as six feet of space can be maintained between tables. Bars and counter areas will remain closed for seating or standing
  • Bars and breweries for seated consumption
  • Music and live entertainment
  • Lodging and accomodations
  • Bakeries and coffee shops
  • Food trucks and food truck parks
  • Theaters, museums, galleries, dinner theaters and other passive leisure spaces & activities
  • Arcades, bowling alleys, climbing gyms, night clubs, skating rinks, trampoline parks and other similar activities
  • In-home services, like plumbers, cleaning, contractors, real estate, etc.
  • Pet care like grooming, daycare and veterinary clinics
  • Childcare and summer camps (overnight programs not open)
  • School sports
  • Athletic fields & courts for non-contact activities and sports
  • Pools and splash pads
  • Indoor leisure activities
  • Community centers and libraries
  • Outdoor event venues with 50-person limit

Playgrounds and senior centers will remain closed during phase two.

The county will reevaluate on Friday, June 12, to see if any changes need to be made.

“Moving into Phase Two is not a return to pre-pandemic normal, but it is a small step in helping us get there,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said. “We must not forget that this situation has caused almost-irreparable damage to the local economy, creating significant hardships for many families and placing a tremendous burden on small business owners. Only by working together and supporting one another can our community begin seeing ‘normal’ within reach.”

“We have let the science and data guide our response throughout this pandemic and it is reassuring that our benchmarks continue to look favorable here in Knox County. Dr. Martha Buchanan, the staff at the Knox County Health Department and the reopening task force members have done an outstanding job,” said City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “They continue to make smart decisions that put the well-being of our community ahead of politics. I am optimistic that if everyone continues to follow the 5 core actions in the reopening plan, we can move forward without seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.”

“We are grateful that our data supports the progression into Phase Two. That’s a testament to how well our community has adhered to the five core actions outlined in our plan,” said KCHD Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan. “However, we still need everyone to practice these actions, which remain critical in reducing transmission of this virus.”

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