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‘Tennessee Pledge’: Gov. Bill Lee outlines new guidelines for businesses opening next week

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 9:49 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has announced new guidelines for businesses allowed to reopen next week in 89 of the state’s 95 counties.

Shelby County and several other metro areas, like Nashville, are not part of this plan.

Beginning Monday, restaurants can open at 50-percent capacity and following the guidelines set in place. On Wednesday, retail stores can reopen at 50-percent capacity.

The governor shared details of his reopening plan at a news conference Friday.

Lee said he tasked the Unified Command Group and Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group with input from health experts, state local partners, business and industry leaders to build what they’re calling the “Tennessee Pledge.”

The Tennessee Pledge includes specific recommendations that enable most businesses to reopen responsibly without the burden of having mandates.

“This will be a gradual return to business as usual with room to adjust as we evaluate changing data,” said Lee.

The Tennessee Pledge asks businesses to provide safe working conditions that protect their employees’ health and also protect consumers while securing their livelihoods.

The plan also asks employees to commit to protecting themselves, their coworkers and the customers they serve.

Lee is encouraging Tennessee residents to act responsibly by following guidelines for social distancing and wearing protective equipment wherever it’s appropriate.

Restaurants must adhere to the following guidelines in order to protect employees and customers:

  • Protecting Employees
  • Protecting Customers
  • Business Operations

Retailers must adhere to the following guidelines in order to protect employees and customers:

  • Protecting Employees
  • Protecting Customers
  • Business Operations

He said all decisions have been built on public health data that informs how the virus is moving through the state and affecting citizens.

The governor said reopening guidance will be given to gyms, churches, hospitals and physician practices next week.

Close contact services like barbershops, salons, tattoo shops and massage parlors could reopen later in May.

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