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Tenn. advised by White House to limit restaurant capacity, bar hours

Tennessee COVID-19 Red Zones
Tennessee COVID-19 Red Zones(White House Coronavirus Task Force)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 7:02 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/WTVF) - Tennessee should put limits on indoor dining capacity and bar hours, the White House advised in a weekly report.

“With almost all counties in the red zone and an increasing number of nursing homes, now 50%, with at least one positive staff member, mitigation and messaging efforts need to be further strengthened as other states have recently done,” the report says. “Effective practices to decrease transmission in public spaces include limiting indoor restaurant capacity to less than 25% and limiting bar hours until cases and test positivity decrease to yellow zone.”

81 of Tennessee’s 95 counties are marked as “red zones” by the White House. That includes Knox and surrounding counties.

Other recommendations around the holiday were in included in the report:

  • “Start testing to identify and isolate asymptomatic silent spreaders - those who have the virus, feel fine, and are unknowingly spreading it. Incentivize people under 40 years to get tested.”
  • “Conduct active testing in school for teachers and students where cases are increasing. In accordance with CDC guidelines, masks must be worn by students and teachers in K-12 schools.”
  • “On university campuses, students are letting their guards down with Thanksgiving break less than a week away... If they are going home, they should follow CDC holiday guidelines for protective behaviors.”
  • “Continuously monitor testing and contact tracing capacity in all counties to ensure rapid turnaround of test results (within 48 hours) and that all cases are immediately isolated and full contact tracing is conducted (within 72 hours of testing).

The White House previously advised Governor Bill Lee to issue a statewide mask mandate but has since removed that call from their recommendations.

The Knox County Board of Health called a special meeting during which they are expected to vote on possible new restrictions. The meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday.

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