Gov. Lee allows large attractions to reopen, eases restrictions on restaurants, retail

Gov. Lee allows large attractions to reopen, eases restrictions on restaurants, retail

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Governor Bill Lee announced Friday afternoon that the state planned to lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail and allow large attractions to reopen.

The new rule is scheduled to start May 22. According to a release from the governor's office, restrictions will be lifted and businesses and leaders will instead "focus on social distancing best practices."

Guidelines for reopening and lifting restrictions will be released early next week.

Six counties, including Knox, will be allowed to follow their own reopening plans.

“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 release said large attractions include: racetracks, amusement parks, water parks, theaters and dinner theaters, auditoriums, large museums and more.

Dollywood spokesperson Pete Owens said the park was aware of the announcement, "We are excited and are working on our reopening plans. We will announce our intentions soon."

Restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people remain in place for the time being.

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