UPDATED: Mayor releases local guidelines for responsible reopening under "Tennessee Pledge"

May 01, 2020 at 09:39 am by bryan

In response to Gov. Bill Lee's April 27 reopening of restaurants and April 29 reopening of retail stores, Mayor Shane McFarland Monday (April 28) provided local guidance and best practices for Murfreesboro businesses to open responsibly by keeping employees and customers safe. An updated (5-1-20) Murfreesboro "Reopening Guide" for residents, businesses and other venues to observe safeguards can be viewed here.

The City of Murfreesboro "Reopening Guide" is intended to provide best practices for social distancing and disinfecting/cleaning when the identified business types are recommended for reopening per the State of Tennessee directive. When each business type is recommended to be reopened, and the associated guidelines are issued by the State of Tennessee, the State guidelines should be followed if they differ from the City's guidelines. The City will update its guidelines to reflect those of the State's as soon as possible when they are issued.

Gov. Lee's Executive Order 29 amends Executive Order 17 to reopen dinning in restaurants beginning at 12:01 CDT Monday, April 27. The governor's "Stay at home" order expires Thursday, April 30. It requires all non-essential businesses including dine-in restaurants and retail establishments to temporarily close to enforce social distancing.

Gov. Lee also issued Executive Order 30 today (April 28) which is attached and announced statewide guidance for gyms, fitness and exercise facilities to open May 1. Statewide guidance is provided here https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/exercise-facilities-guidelines.html.

Governor Lee announced statewide guidance for restaurants and retail establishments on Friday, April 24. Restaurants were allowed to open in-person dining Monday, April 27, limited to 50 percent of seating capacity. Retail will open Wednesday, April 29, limited to 50 percent or less of store occupancy based on Tennessee's Building and Fire Code.

The guidance, known as "Tennessee Pledge," is attached in PDF with links provided below. "The 'Tennessee Pledge' is a plan to help Tennesseans return to work in a safe environment, restore their livelihoods and reboot our state's economy." It provides guidance for employers, employees, businesses and consumers to live and work safely.

Restaurants and retail are the first industries to receive reopening guidance from the State.

The governor also confirmed Monday, April 27 that elective medical procedures will be allowed to resume on May 1st. In the coming week, Gov. Lee and the Economic Recovery Group are expected to provide specific guidance for other industries, including close contact services--such as barbershops, nail and hair salons, massage and tattoo parlors--and large gathering operations--such and churches, movie theatres.

These other non-essential industries, including bars, taverns and nightclubs remain closed to the public. Schools and youth activities also remain closed as do nursing homes, senior living facilities and hospitals for purpose of most visits to residents and patients.

While details of restaurant guidance can be accessed below, some employee and customer recommended protection measures include the following:

  • Strict adherence to CDC guidelines, including sanitation frequency.
  • Face coverings and gloves worn by employees at all times.
  • Require employees to report any symptoms of illness.
  • Limit number of customers to 50 percent of seating capacity.
  • A maximum of 6 customers per table with tables spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Marking waiting areas so social distancing standards are met.
  • Bar areas remain closed and live music not permitted.
  • Screen customers for illness upon entry with temperature checks for every customer as a best practice. Customers with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted.

Restaurant business practices such as hand sanitizer stations, sanitizing of tabletop items, chairs and surfaces, use of disposable menus and restrictions against self-serve buffets, condiments on counters and beverage stations are provided in guidance. State Restaurant Industry Guidance can be downloaded here,


Detailed Retail industry guidance can be accessed below, but some recommended protection measures include:

  • Limit customers to 50 percent or less of store occupancy based on Tennessee's Building and Fire Code
  • Customers should wear face coverings inside the store
  • Establish one-way aisles and traffic patterns for social distancing.
  • Increase curbside, pickup, and delivery service options to minimize contact and maintain social distancing.
  • Face coverings and gloves worn by employees at all times.
  • Provide sanitizing stations such as wash basin with soap and/or hand sanitizer.
  • Require employees to report any symptoms of illness
  • Prohibit congregating in break rooms or common areas and limit capacity to allow for safe social distancing of minimum 6 feet.

    Business practices such as cleaning protocols, sanitizing high traffic and high touch areas, designated entrances and exits, and plastic shields or barriers between clerks and customers at service counters are also provided in guidance. State Retail Industry Guidance can be downloaded here, https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/retail-guidelines.html.

    State General Guidance for Tennessee Businesses can be downloaded here.


    A comprehensive summary of State guidance can be downloaded here.


"As Mayor of Murfreesboro, I can't stress enough that the most important aspect of these guidelines in phased reopening of business is individual and corporate responsibility," stated Mayor Shane McFarland. "We all need to do our part to protect public health and the economic livelihood of our community by making sure transmissions of the virus don't increase and require a second lockdown. I'm confident we can keep this from happening together by adhering to the guidelines: wearing face coverings, washing hands regularly, and disinfecting frequently touched areas."

McFarland added, "If local businesses do their part to protect customer safety and citizens do their part to honor those who do, we can begin a modified return of our local economy so we can all get back to work."

The City's "Reopening Guide also reminds all residents to continue to follow CDC guidelines and practices:

  • Wear face coverings in public.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick and call your physician or the County Health Department at 615-898-7880 or 615-849-0347 for guidance; stay home when you come into contact with someone who is sick.
  • Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place; members of households with vulnerable individuals should continue to isolate.
  • All individuals should practice social distancing from others when in public; avoid socializing in groups of 10 or more where social distancing isn't practical.
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation after travel.
  • Cover your cough and sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects (e.g. cell phone, computer) and high touch surfaces.

The Mayor holds regular Live televised briefings on Facebook and CityTV to provide updates on the crisis and answer questions in real-time. The live broadcasts are aired on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cityofmurfreesborotn.

Videos and other important information such as Coronavirus Acts on economic and financial relief can be viewed on the Coronavirus Information at the City of Murfreesboro website: https://www.murfreesborotn.gov/1690/Coronavirus-Information.

For Governor Lee's Executive Orders and other information, visit https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html.

For the latest information from the Tennessee Department of Health, visit

https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html. For the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 webpage and most recent information and guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

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