It’s a big day for reopening in parts of Tennessee. On Friday, large event venues, theme parks, dinner shows and movie theaters are allowed to open back up in 89 Tennessee counties.
While these businesses are allowed to reopen, not all of them will. Governor Bill Lee released specific guidelines attractions and theaters must follow if they choose to start welcoming guests back.
According to the State of Tennessee website, "These venues could include, for example, concert and performing arts venues, amusement and water parks, auditoriums, theaters and dinner theaters, zoos, and museums, roller or ice skating rinks and sporting event venues."
Sevier County is one of the 89 counties allowed to proceed with this phase of reopening Tennessee safely. In a place filled with family-friendly tourist destinations, this phase of reopening will make an impact.
While attractions and theaters start to open back up, there are important safety and health guidelines each business must follow.
First, the state recommends businesses screen employees and customers before entering to ensure everyone coming in the door is healthy. Next, wearing face masks is strongly encouraged for employees and customers.
Keeping the proper social distance is crucial. Each attraction must have procedures in place to make sure six feet of space is between people in different households. This could mean certain attractions limit the number of people allowed inside at a time. In theaters, owners can choose to block off certain rows or areas to maintain the proper social distancing guidelines.
It's important to call attractions or check their websites to see if they decided to reopen and what their safety measures are before bringing your family out for some socially-distant fun.
Governor Bill Lee said the state is able to enter into this next phase of reopening because of Tennesseans' hard work to social distance and keep COVID-19 transmission rate on a decrease. Gov. Lee said in order to keep that number going down, everyone will have to play their part.
Wilderness at the Smokies announced it will be reopening on Thursday, May 28. There is still no word on when Dollywood and Splash Country plan to reopen, but the company said it was "excited" at the possibility of reopening after Gov. Lee's announcement last week.
Knox County is not included in this phase of reopening. The 89 counties allowed to enter into this phase have health departments run by the state. Knox County will continue to release plans and precautions as time progresses.