Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has unveiled his proposal to begin a phased reopening of businesses, parks and places of worship that have been closed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Jacobs sent a copy of his plan to Gov. Bill Lee outlining a plan to return most businesses to “fully operational” in six weeks, so long as there are no negative changes in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“Gov. Lee’s decision to extend the safer-at-home order was made taking statewide numbers into account,” Jacobs said. “Knox County is one of 95 Tennessee counties and as long as our community continues to make good and responsible choices, I believe we can, and should, start taking steps to reopen businesses.
“The longer the economy is shut down, the more difficult it’s going to be to get it back on track.”
The news comes as the Knox County Health Department released its active coronavirus cases count at 35 on Tuesday, down from 36 on Monday. Jacobs cited the stabilizing numbers in his announcement.
Knox County ranks sixth in the state in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The proposal suggests that businesses should require sick employees to stay home, promote frequent handwashing and proper hygiene, and consider using face coverings if physical distancing isn’t possible.
Other guidelines target venues, restaurants and bars, retail stores, personal appearance businesses and health clubs, parks and playgrounds.
“It isn’t a choice between healthy people and a healthy economy, or it shouldn’t be,” Jacobs said. “The general public doesn’t need the government ordering an economic shut down so people will stay home.