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State to lift capacity restrictions on restaurants; fewer active cases of COVID-19 in Friday report

As Tennessee continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the state’s Economic Recovery Group announced Friday 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 early next 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.”

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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:

As of 2 p.m. Friday, there are 16,970 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee. This includes 290 deaths and 1,454 hospitalizations. There have been 9,280 recoveries, meaning there are 7,690 active cases in the state. This is 128 fewer active cases than the prior day.

There have been 309,756 tests performed for the virus. This means of those tested, about 5.48 percent are testing positive. This is down from the previous day.

In Coffee County, there are now 60 confirmed cases of the virus and 37 recoveries, leaving 23 active cases – this is the same number of active cases as the previous day.

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