No vote on restricting gathering sizes at Knox County Board of Health’s Aug. 12 meeting

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Board of Health decided not to put an agenda item to a vote at Wednesday night’s meeting that would have limited the number of people allowed to gather.

Board member Dr. Patrick O’Brien suggested the resolution on the agenda, the “Social Group Transmission Suppression Regulation” not be voted on since the community seems to be doing well with the Five Core Actions.

Other board members agreed the data was trending positively and the wearing of masks by community members seems to be working. The focus needs to be education, as well as pushing the Five Core Actions: Wearing a mask or face covering, social distancing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, washing hands and staying home when sick.

Knox County Health Department director Dr. Martha Buchanan said the board can continue to “go out there and be ambassadors for the five core actions.”

The meeting adjourned just after 6 p.m.


EARLIER: The Knox County Board of Health was set to hold its Aug. 12 meeting via Zoom at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

On the agenda included items such as the benchmark presentation by the Knox County Health Department’s Dr. Martha Buchanan, the UT Medical Center data update by Dr. Shamiyeh, a review of the COVID-19 Face Covering Regulation (which the board had approved at its July 1 meeting) and discussion of a proposed regulation, the “Social Group Transmission Suppression Regulation.”

The regulation proposes the limiting of social gatherings – public or private – within Knox County to 25 or less people; specifically, it calls for all public or private indoor gatherings of more than 25 people age 12 or older within the same 900 square feet at any given time within Knox County (aside from gatherings of people living in the same house) to be prohibited. Exceptions to the regulation include long-term care facilities or retirement homes, churches/places of worship, government buildings, schools, transportation terminals and health care facilities.

A person or business that knowingly fails to comply with the regulation or provisions can face penalties, including a misdemeanor charge under the Tennessee Annotated Code § 68-2-602.

Curious about the proposed regulation? View it below:

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