Restaurateurs dealing with new guidelines for reopening during coronavirus pandemic

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / A sign explains that the Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, on Hamilton Place Boulevard, is closed. Because of the measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic businesses remained closed on April 29, 2020.

Reopening a restaurant or even just the dining area after being forced to close or offer takeout, curbside pickup or delivery for almost two months is not simply a matter of unlocking the front door and turning on the "open" sign, many owners in the area say.

The Hamilton Country Health Department, in accordance with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's recommendations, has issued a list of requirements for restaurants to follow when they open again.

"We know the reopening of restaurants is of great interest not only to our local owners and food industry workers, but also to residents who want to patronize these establishments," says Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes, "But we can't stress enough that reopening doesn't mean the pandemic is over. We strongly urge everyone to continue practicing social distancing, everyday actions, and adhere to these restaurant guidelines to prevent an increase in COVID-19 infections."