KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In its Jan. 27 meeting, the Knox County Board of Health voted to push back the county’s 10 p.m. curfew to 11 p.m.
Bar owners who have been struggling the last couple of months say this change gives them hope. Joel McLead, owner of Pour Taproom says an extra hour makes a huge difference in his revenue.
“An hour is huge. That’s the difference between probably bringing one employee back or not. Between somebody maybe getting full time versus part time hours. Downtown has been hit hard. Numbers are way down. Revenue is way down, traffic is way down and then you multiply that on top of also saying it’s freezing outside,” McLead said.
The new curfew will take effect starting Thursday, Jan. 28.
The 10 p.m. curfew regulation was set to expire on Feb. 4, but instead of extending it as-is, the board decided to loosen the restriction slightly based on new data.
During the meeting, Dr. Buchanan and Dr. Shamiyeh presented data that showed case numbers, hospitalizations and testing are all on a downward trend from the holidays.
Dr. Shamiyeh says the same trends are being seen across the state and the country.
Dr. Buchanan says the numbers are encouraging, but to keep in mind that deaths are still on the rise. While the overall numbers are improving, they’re still high.
“We’re trending in a positive direction, let’s keep going that way. And the only way we can keep going that way is if we all continue to observe the five core actions,” Buchanan said.
The board also voted on the social gathering regulation. A two-week extension was passed in an 8 to 1 vote. It’s now set to expire on Feb. 18, but the board will continue to reevaluate the situation.
In order for the social gathering regulation and the curfew to be lifted completely, the board says they would like to see a positivity rate of 5%. Right now, we’re still around 15%.