KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon sent a letter to the Knox County Board of Health and asked members to consider adopting the actions recommended by Dr. Deborah Birx and the White House Coronavirus Taskforce.
In the letter, Kincannon said, “time is of the essence” for taking action against rising COVID-19 cases in Knoxville.
Kincannon highlighted that Tennessee is considered a COVID-19 “red zone” and among the top 10 states the CDC projects having the greatest likelihood of rising death rates in the coming weeks.
During a visit to Tennessee, Dr. Birx said researchers have learned mask-wearing, limiting restaurant capacity and closing down bars can have an impact just as big as sheltering in place.
Mayor Kincannon asked the board to close bars, limit indoor dining and restrict gatherings to 25 people or less in Knoxville.
“These actions, in addition to consistent use of face coverings and practicing physical distancing, will prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed, will help us reopen schools and universities more safely, and will protect public health, all of which are essential to our social and economic well-being. Such extreme actions are not done lightly and you will no doubt face criticism. Please remember that it’s the pandemic that is hurting our economy, not the actions we take to curb it.”