KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Board of Health approved a few changes involving time and COVID-19 restrictions during its Feb. 24 meeting.
Board members approved pushing back the curfew for bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to midnight and also approved changing the board’s meeting time to once-a-month. It also extended the county’s social gathering limit.
The curfew regulation had been set last year to 10 p.m. then was later extended to 11 p.m. Now with the latest extension to midnight, health leaders commented that the change would help local businesses.
“Some people are like, ‘it’s only an hour. It’s only two hours.’ No, from 10 o’clock it’s actually 14 more hours a week of possible revenue for us,” Joel McLead, co-owner of Pour Taproom, said.
The midnight curfew goes into effect Thursday, Feb. 25, and expires on March 18 unless it gets extended.
The county’s social gathering limit was extended by the health board; however, the county’s deputy law director David Sanders offered more insight into that move and the possible future — shedding light on what happens to the board’s authority if the governor does not extend the state of emergency.
“The board of health may adopt rules and regulations as may be necessary and that’s regardless of the executive order,” Sanders said. “The statutory power which you have says the regulations you extend must be at least as stringent as state law. So, in essence, what the executive order gives you is the ability to be less stringent than state law.”
Since the board approved the change in its meeting time or date of frequency, the next board of health meeting is set for March 17.