All Farragut, Knox bars ordered to close; open restaurant seating max of 100 or 50 percent

As a further business measure to combat COVID-19, “a health directive” for Farragut and all of Knox County “ordering the closure of bars and limiting capacity at restaurants” has been issued by Knox County Public Health officer Dr. Martha Buchanan.

“Knox County bars, or businesses licensed to serve food whose primary business is alcohol service, shall close for business until further notice,” she stated earlier this afternoon.

“Restaurants whose primary business is food service shall limit capacity to half the seating capacity of their dining area, as outlined by their Knox County Health Department permit, or 100 patrons, whichever is lower.

“Tables should be spaced and seating arrangements coordinated, following the public health guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control — which is maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between persons,” Buchanan further stated.

“Restaurants with an attached bar — also known as a food service establishment permitted as an auxiliary food service operation — shall limit capacity for the bar area to 10 percent of the capacity specified in their KCHD permit with no standing allowed in the bar area.”

Her released also stated the order has no impact on a takeout or drive-through services.

“These new measures are being taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the general public and impact in Knox County and surrounding areas,” she stated. “COVID-19 is an evolving situation, but Knox Countians are urged to exercise caution and maintain good hygiene practices as serious risks still exist for our vulnerable populations.

Social distancing is highly encouraged and those who are returning to the community from spring break travel should self-isolate in accordance to guidelines issued by the CDC,” Buchanan added. “Travelers should only call the Knox County Health Department hotline if they have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4 and shortness of breath or fever of 100.4 and a cough) or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.”

“If the public has questions regarding their health, they are encouraged to call their medical provider. If they do not have a medical provider, they may call our public information line at 865-215-5555 or toll-free at 888-288-6022,” stated Katharine Killen, deputy senior Director of Strategy for KCHD.

“The information line is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday. Call volume is expected to be high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.

“In addition, the Tennessee Department of Health has a public information line, 877-857-2945, that is available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week,” she further stated.