KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon offered details as to how the Knox County Board of Health’s alcohol curfew will work in the city hours before it is set to go into effect Friday.
The board of health voted during its weekly meeting on Wednesday to close bars, restaurants, and businesses that serve alcohol at 11 p.m. and to limit all public and private gatherings of more than 25 people, ages 12 and older, within the same 900 square feet of indoor space, with exceptions.
“When Dr. (Deborah) Birx, co-chair of the White House Corona Virus Task Force, visited Knoxville earlier this week, she said when cases go up, leaders need to rethink pandemic strategies,” Kincannon said.
“The City of Knoxville fully supports the Board of Health’s efforts to mitigate the pandemic. Knoxville Police officers, in conjunction with UTPD, will be monitoring the situation and talking to business owners about these new requirements. We are confident that businesses want to keep staff, customers, and students as safe as possible—and will in turn cooperate.”
According to a release from Kincannon’s office, there are some ways restaurants and bars can serve alcohol past the curfew time.
While businesses that serve alcohol on-premises to customers will have to stop, delivery, drive-thru, curbside pick-up, and carry-out service are permitted after 11 p.m.
While serving resturants and bars also have some new specific details to follow:
- All customers will have to be seated and no walk-up service will be allowed.
- No more than 10 people will be allowed at a table and tables will have to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
- Live music performers must maintain at least 15 feet of separation between audience members and performers.
- Indoor and outdoor waiting areas must be marked and individuals in the waiting areas must be 6 feet apart.
The release went on to say a violation of the regulations constitutes a Class C misdemeanor and citations will also be forwarded to the Knoxville Beer Board for consideration.
In a Facebook address, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs continued to express his frustration in the board of health’s mandates but also called for the public to focus its anger at the Legislature and not at the board and Knox County Health Department.
“I have a lot of problems with how this pandemic has been handled,” Jacobs says. “We have taken the power to write laws away from legislative bodies and given it to unelected boards. That terrifies me. It frustrates me.
If you want to do something constructive, don’t scream at the good folks at our Health Department. They’ve done a great job and I believe they are a major part of the reason that Knox County has fared better than many other areas.
Frankly, if I were looking at all of this solely from a public health perspective, I probably would have done the same things. It’s not them that is the problem, it’s the system that thrust them into a position no one should be in. Please don’t’ abuse or threaten them. They don’t deserve that.”
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