State allows increased capacity in restaurants, retail, attractions

Posted at 2:59 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 16:07:39-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee's Economic Recovery Group released updated COVID-19 guidelines for retail, restaurants and large attractions, allowing them to increase customer capacity on or after May 22.

The guidelines apply to a majority of the state, but not all of them. The following six counties are still under their own county COVID-19 restrictions: Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan.

But for the rest restaurants and retail shops in the rest of the state, capacity can be increased as long as social distancing protocols remain in place. Restaurants should continue to space tables six feet apart, or install physical barriers where adequate separation isn’t possible.

Bars should remain closed unless used for seated, in-restaurant dining where there is six feet of separation between customer groups.

Live music is allowed with the right precautions, which include maintaining at least 15 feet of separation between performers and audience in order to reduce potential exposure.

“Tennesseans have worked hard to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state, and their efforts have allowed us to continue to reopen our economy further,” said Governor Bill Lee in a press release. “These guidelines share best practices to ensure our state’s businesses can continue to operate in a way that protects customers and employees while putting people back to work.”

Large, non-contact attractions and venues including concert and performance venues, amusement and water parks, auditoriums, theaters and dinner theaters, zoos, large museums and more can also reopen safely under new Tennessee Pledge guidelines.

Strong measures to protect employees and customers are recommended, including screening of employees and customers, creating plans for managing guest flow, and limiting capacity to ensure separation between small groups.

Full guidelines can be found on for: