Retailers in 89 Tennessee counties reopen today after shutdown

Posted at 6:20 AM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 14:37:26-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Retailers in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reopened Wednesday as the state begins the next wave of reopening its economy.

Gov. Bill Lee announced new guidelines for retailer stores and restaurants last week as part of “Tennessee Pledge.” Just like restaurants, retail shops can only operate at 50% occupancy right now.

Under the new guidelines, employees are asked to wear masks. Owners are also encouraged to screen employees for symptoms and take their temperatures. Retailers are asked to provide sanitizing stations, create one-way aisles and try to continue to offering curbside pickup as an option.

The guidelines for Tennessee Pledge do not apply to major cities like Nashville. On Tuesday, the head of Metro’s Coronavirus Task Force said Metro still isn't where it needs to be to reopen.

However, Sumner County is among the counties where stores like the Trendy Trunk can reopen. Owner Deanna Williams says she's had to get creative to keep the business going like it has for the past 13 years. She used FaceTime to virtually talk with customers, she’s sold items curbside and hosted Facebook lives each morning to show customers what she had in stock.

While she’s excited to see customers face to face, she’s putting safety first.

“Remember to social distance if you do decide to come in. We would love to see you. If you want to come in in masks, if you want to come in in gloves, feel free to do that,” said Susan Barron, an employee at the Trendy Trunk. “We've got hand sanitizer up at the register and we're going to still be cleaning continually throughout the store throughout the day. I want you to feel safe when you come in.”

Williams says she's been overwhelmed by support from the community. She says one woman even came in before the closure and bought a $500 gift card to help keep the store open.