Guidelines released for recreational businesses preparing to reopen Friday

Posted at 3:28 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 17:04:33-04

(WTVF) — Guidance from Tennessee's Economic Recovery Group has been released for small group, noncontact recreation businesses as they prepare to reopen this week.

Businesses like bowling alleys, arcades, dance classes, water sports, mini golf, shooting ranges and climbing gyms in 89 counties in Tennessee will be allowed to reopen on May 8. Counties excluded from this are Davidson, Shelby, Madison, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan County.

"As our testing capacity and contact tracing ability continues to improve, it’s time to get Tennesseans back to work safely and successfully" said Gov. Bill Lee. "These guidelines were created in partnership with business leaders and health experts to preserve the progress we’ve made and protect the lives and livelihoods of Tennesseans."

These guidelines, which are apart of the governor's reopening plan called the Tennessee Pledge, include limiting capacity to 50%, spacing requirements and frequent sanitization.

Larger venues and activities where social distancing is not possible to practice easily shall remain closed. This includes dinner theaters, theaters, concert/live performance venues, racetracks, indoor children play areas, adult entertainment venues, amusement parks, senior centers, roller/ice skating rinks and laser tag.

Last week, retailers and restaurants in the same 89 counties were allowed to reopen under certain guidelines. On Wednesday, salons and barbershops reopened at half-capacity.

Below are the detailed guidelines that were issued on Wednesday.

Business Process Adaptations:

  • Sanitize shared resources (such as throwing axes, bowling balls, rented shoes, and other equipment) after each use, and sanitize all high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces (such as counters, check-out areas, keypads, restrooms) every two hours and when visibly dirty
  • Place hand sanitizer locations in high traffic areas, including check-in/out counters, lobbies, elevator areas, food services entrances, and meeting room entrances, if any
  • Use plastic shields or barriers between customers and employees at service counters, and clean such shields or barriers frequently (every two hours and when visibly dirty)
  • Use a clearly designated entrance and a separate clearly designated exit to maintain social distancing
  • Add social distancing “reminder” signs, such as floor decals and audio announcements to encourage customers to be mindful of maintaining 6-feet of distance
  • Remove all self-serve items on the premises (e.g., self-service bowling ball, golf club, and other selection stations); have staff provide such items to patrons directly
  • Limit self-service options (customer samples, communal packaging, food/beverages, etc.). For on-site food and beverage services, follow restaurant guidelines issued by Economic Recovery Group (see full Restaurant guidelines here)
  • Modify check-in and payment processes to observe social distancing and implement sanitization measures (e.g., no shared pens, use contact-less payments where possible)
  • Any youth or adult team leagues, activities, or sports should remain closed temporarily to discourage large gatherings (e.g., bowling leagues) (see Executive Order No. 30, as may be amended)
  • Any activities or areas that are likely to result in physical contact between individuals (e.g., laser tag venues) should be closed temporarily
  • Any common areas where social distancing is difficult or impossible to maintain (e.g., playgrounds, children’s “ball pits”) should be closed temporarily
  • Encourage parent / guardian supervision for all children when participating in recreational activities, and ensure that children are able to comply with applicable guidelines (e.g., social distancing, wear face coverings). Note that cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies and children under age two because of the danger of suffocation
  • Where possible, customers should be encouraged to schedule appointments or call-ahead reservations
  • Prohibit use of waiting areas to avoid congregation (e.g., could adopt such practices as notifying customers by call or text message)

Consumer Protection:

  • Screen customers for illness upon entry to the facility
  • Customers should wear cloth face coverings according to CDC guidance
  • Limit the number of customers inside any facility at a given time for indoor activities to 50 percent or less of occupancy based on Tennessee’s Building and Fire Code.
  • Limit group sizes to ensure compliance with state and CDC social distancing guidelines (less than 10 persons):
    • For example: At bowling centers and mini-golf, limit customers per lane or group (e.g., no more than 6)
  • Adjust equipment layout and close or restrict access to equipment to maintain appropriate social distancing among customers (e.g., at least 6 feet of separation)
    • For example: in facilities that have lanes or stations, like bowling centers, golf driving ranges, or axe-throwing establishments, only open every other lane or station
    • For example: in arcades, limit the number of games so that each game can be spaced more than 6 feet apart
    • For example: in climbing gyms, only open a portion of climbing paths to customers
  • Avoid combining persons or small groups with other non-related or non-associated persons or small groups, even if such combined group is less than 10 persons, unless appropriate social distancing can be maintained by the combined group
  • Require customers to use only one piece of equipment during their visit (e.g. one bowling ball, putter, or rafting oar)
  • Require customers to clean equipment they come in contact with using disinfecting wipes before and after each use
  • Keep doors and windows open where possible and secure to improve ventilation for indoor activities
  • Recommend that persons more vulnerable or at-risk for COVID-19 as identified by the CDC—including those who are over the age of 65 or those who have severe underlying medical conditions—take extra precaution or refrain from use of the facility during initial phases of re-opening

Employee Protection:

  • Screen and temperature-check all employees reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Employees should increase hygiene practices—wash hands more frequently, avoid touching face, practice good respiratory etiquette when coughing or sneezing. Change any protective garments on a regular basis and sanitize reusable garments such as aprons or smocks at least once per day
  • Employees should wear a cloth face covering (not N-95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for health care workers) and other personal protection items as recommended by the CDC; if masks become wet or visibly dirty, the mask should be replaced
  • All employees should wash hands between serving each customer, and more frequently as necessary. If appropriate for the service provided, gloves are recommended and should be discarded after each customer. The use of gloves should not be considered a replacement for frequent handwashing
  • Perform regular disinfection of high-touch surface areas (e.g., door handles, counter space, light switches, tools and instruments) at least every two hours and when visibly dirty

More information on the guidelines for these businesses can be found at