KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs on Monday urged the Knoxville-Knox County Reopening Task Force to follow Governor Bill Lee’s lead and loosen restrictions on certain businesses starting Friday, May 22.

Here is Mayor Jacobs’ statement:

“Knox County has done what’s been asked of it. Too many of our neighbors remain without work and too many businesses continue to struggle to keep their doors open, even after implementing alternative business models. I understand the desire to exercise extreme caution before making changes, but available information indicates it is safe to further loosen restrictions just as Governor Lee and the State Health Department are doing in 89 other Tennessee counties. Knox County is reporting some of the lowest pandemic numbers in the State and there is no certainty that staying closed—as other counties in our region open—will offer any protection from community spread. Toward this end, I urge the Health Department’s Reopening Task Force to follow Governor Lee’s lead and begin taking steps to end our local shut down.”

Knoxville Mayor Kincannon responds

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon responded to Jacobs’ statement by issuing the following statement:

“There is no prize for going fast when it comes to reopening our economy. Business owners want clear guidelines for how to protect their customers and their employees, and they want a predictable timeline, so everyone knows what to expect and how to plan.

“The Knoxville-Knox County Reopening Task Force is surveying the community for input on Phase Two guidelines. This week, the task force will take that input, along with public health data, and finalize guidelines for Phase Two. Our local health trends look favorable now, but it’s important to remember that the Health Department is monitoring the data daily, and it’s too early to draw conclusions just yet. We should stick with the plan that is working. If the favorable trends continue, I anticipate being able to move to Phase Two on May 29, after the 28-day minimum for Phase One has ended.”

Indya Kincannon, Knoxville mayor