Knox County and the City of Knoxville will begin Phase Two of the community’s reopening plan on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the Knox County Health Department announced today.
Most industries can operate in Phase Two if they can maintain safety and health precautions. The Phase Two guidelines are posted on KCHD’s website, titled “Reopening Plan: Phase Two Amendment.” Phase Two builds upon Phase One; if an industry was open in Phase One, they remain open.
“Moving into Phase Two is not a return to pre-pandemic normal, but it is a small step in helping us get there,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said. “We must not forget that this situation has caused almost-irreparable damage to the local economy, creating significant hardships for many families and placing a tremendous burden on small business owners. Only by working together and supporting one another can our community begin seeing ‘normal’ within reach.”
“We have let the science and data guide our response throughout this pandemic and it is reassuring that our benchmarks continue to look favorable here in Knox County. Dr. Martha Buchanan, the staff at the Knox County Health Department and the reopening task force members have done an outstanding job,” said City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “They continue to make smart decisions that put the well-being of our community ahead of politics. I am optimistic that if everyone continues to follow the 5 core actions in the reopening plan, we can move forward without seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.”
“We are grateful that our data supports the progression into Phase Two. That’s a testament to how well our community has adhered to the five core actions outlined in our plan,” said KCHD Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan. “However, we still need everyone to practice these actions, which remain critical in reducing transmission of this virus.”
Guidance for Phase Two was created by gathering input and feedback from the Knoxville-Knox County Reopening Task Force – convened by KCHD - elected officials, as well as businesses and community members via digital surveys.
KCHD will assess the status of Phase Two on June 12, and will make potential recommendations at that time.
Additional questions about Phase Two and the reopening plan will be addressed at KCHD’s daily virtual media briefing at 12:30 p.m.