Nashville, Tenn. – As Tennessee continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the state’s Economic Recovery Group announced today it will lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail to instead focus on social distancing best practices effective May 22 and issue guidelines to facilitate the safe reopening of larger, non-contact attractions on or after May 22. New Tennessee Pledge guidelines will be released this week. Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual, county-specific reopening plans created in consultation with State and local health departments.
“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,” said Governor Bill Lee. “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. 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.”
The new Large Attractions guidance applies to those businesses that can effectively practice social distancing with strong measures to protect both employees and customers, including racetracks, amusement parks, waterparks, theaters and dinner theaters, auditoriums, large museums and more. Restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people remain in place for the time being. Updates to Restaurant Guidance will include a lift on capacity restrictions, allowing for increased service as long as social distancing guidelines are adhered to, including 6 feet between tables.
The updated guidelines come as Tennessee continues to meet the White House state gating criteria for phased reopening. The gating criteria include:
- Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) reported within a 14-day period; AND
- Downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic (CLI) cases reported within a 14-day period
- Downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period; OR
- Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests)
- Treat all patients without crisis care; AND
- Robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers, including emerging antibody testing
Hospital capacity remains sufficient to meet the needs of patients, while the state continues to meet the goal of testing 2 percent of the population per month.
The Economic Recovery Group (ERG), composed of 30 leaders from the public and private sector, is crafting guidance to assist businesses in a safe reopening. The industry representatives participating in the ERG collectively represent over 140,000 Tennessee businesses that employ over 2.5M Tennesseans. More information about ERG is available here.
Graphs are available here.
In an effort to keep our readers, up to date with the latest number of cases confirmed in Tenn., Fetch Your News will continually be updating this article with the most recent updates from Tenn. Department of Health (TDH).
As of May 20, 2020, TDH reported 18,532 cases statewide, 309 deaths, and 11,783 recovered. The highest concentration is in Davidson with 4,174 cases and 46 deaths. TDH reported that 325,280 tests have been completed in the state.
Out of the positive cases around 9 percent have required hospitalization and 55 percent have recovered from home. Information about hospitalization status is gathered at the time of diagnosis, therefore this information may be incomplete. This number indicates the number of patients that were ever hospitalized during their illness, it does not indicate the number of patients currently hospitalized.
56 percent of cases have fully recovered from the virus. TDH defines “recovered” as people who (1) have been confirmed to be asymptomatic by their local or regional health department and have completed their required isolation period or (2)are at least 21 days beyond the first test confirming their illness.