Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Friday afternoon that the state will continue its reopening in one week by lifting capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail stores and allowing large attractions to open.
The next step in the state’s reboot of its economy is set for the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, which unofficially kicks off the summer season for many Americans.
The restrictions that are currently in place for restaurants and retail stores forces them to operate at 50% of capacity. That restriction has been in place since restaurants reopened on April 27 and retail stores on April 29. It will be lifted on May 22.
Large attractions that will be allowed to reopen include racetracks, amusement parks, water parks, theaters and more.
“Tennesseans have worked incredibly hard to do their part and help slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our state can begin to reopen. Thanks to their continued efforts, we’re able to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate at greater capacity and large attractions to open in a safe and thoughtful way,” Lee said. “Our state continues to see downward trends in case growth and meets the White House criteria for a phased reopening.”
“This progress has been hard-won, and we can build upon it by reopening while also maintaining common-sense safety measures like mask-wearing and good hygiene,” the governor added. “By taking the Tennessee Pledge, our businesses can reopen in a way that protects the health of their customers and employees, and protects the livelihoods of hard-working Tennesseans.”
Lee’s announcement will not apply to six of the state’s largest counties, which operate their own health departments independent of the state. Among them are Knox, Hamilton, Sullivan, Davidson, Shelby and Madison counties.
For now, restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people will remain in place.