Governor Bill Lee rolls out plan to reopen Tennessee

Many restaurants across Tennessee will be allowed to reopen on Monday at half occupancy, while retail stores can open Wednesday. Governor Bill Lee's plan for reopening the state was revealed Friday, April 24.

The governor discussed the first steps of the "Tennessee Pledge" Friday morning, which is the guidance and best practices for businesses in 89 of the 95 counties to reopen, while keeping employees and customers safe.

Lee said restaurants can open Monday at 50% capacity, while retail stores can open Wednesday at 50%. He has recommended that employees wear cloth face coverings and that business owners follow federal guidelines for safety and sanitation standards related to COVID-19.

The governor says the plan is supported by data showing the state's curve of novel coronavirus infections hitting "a plateau." The state has seen the average daily growth rate remain stable for 14 days, in addition to a steady downward trajectory in positive tests as a percentage of total tests since April 1, according to Governor Lee.

Testing has also increased, including open testing across 33 sites over last weekend, 18 this weekend and more in the future.

Lee said 15-percent of Tennessee’s workforce filed unemployment claims as of this week, which equates to more than 400,000 people. State officials predict a $5-billion loss in the state’s gross domestic product during 2020.

The plan applies to 89 of the state’s 95 counties, excluding Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties, which will have their own strategies.

“Like the rest of the country, Tennessee has taken an unprecedented economic hit with families and small businesses feeling the most pain,” Lee said. “We must stay vigilant as a state, continue to practice social distancing, and engage in best practices at our businesses so that we can stay open.”

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