Knox County Health Department issues new guidelines for food trucks


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – As the novel coronavirus ramps up in Tennessee, canceling many upcoming festivals and leaving offices empty with employees working from home, food truck owners are finding new ways to keep their businesses afloat.

“We have to go where the need is and the need is where people are quarantining themselves and staying at home,” Vittle’s Food Truck owner Chasity Shelby said. “Different homeowners associations have invited us out to serve their community.”

While the Knox County Health Department said they ‘appreciate the support’ given by these communities, they wanted to issue a list of reminders for both patrons and business owners alike to adhere to during the COVID-19 pandemic. The list of guidelines includes things like strictly enforcing social distancing.

“We’ve decided to put out cones, little orange cones that we use for spacing,” Shelby said. “We’re going to get a sign made that pretty much lays out what the health department requires from us so I guess for instance right now they have to stay six feet apart.”

Other guidelines being laid out by the Knox County Health Department include providing individual condiments as opposed to a self-service location and no longer providing customers with cutlery or napkins. While it’s forced business owners to modify their daily operations, Shelby said she appreciates the health department’s clarity in an uncertain time.

“It’s very clear and very eye-opening, we are made aware that this is something that if it does not work and if the rules are not abided by then we will be shut down and we cannot afford that,” Shelby said.

Below is the full list of guidelines issued by the Knox County Health Department:

  1. Neighbors should not be congregating in a social manner around your food truck, nor dining together. Inviting a food truck to come to a neighborhood should not be considered a special social event or neighborhood block party.
  2. Your food truck should still be considered a delivery truck. Only ONE person from each family should go to the food truck to pick up the food. The food should be taken to their own home to be consumed. 
  3. Each food truck should have one person outside of the unit to prevent people from congregating. The food trucks should have cones or other types of markings to facilitate 6-foot distance between customers in line.  
  4. The food trucks should continue to provide individual condiments. You should not share from a central self-service location. 
  5. The food trucks should NOT be providing customers cutlery or napkins with the food. 
  6. Please do not go outside to get food from the food truck if you are not feeling well. 
  7. Remember to disinfect your hands after completing the transaction and before eating.

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