Tennessee to reopen amusement parks, water parks, theaters next week

Tennessee announced Friday it would lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and shops as it moves to focus on reopening larger attractions such as amusement parks, water parks and theaters starting next week.

Tennessee's Economic Recovery Group said 89 out of 95 counties in the state could lift capacity restrictions on businesses, adding that the next reopening phase begins May 22 for reopening larger noncontact attractions, according to Nashville, Tenn., NBC affiliate WSMV.

Included in the next phase of reopening are race tracks and auditoriums as well as recreational parks and large museums, although restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people will remain in place for now.


"We're able to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate at greater capacity and large attractions to open in a safe and thoughtful way," Gov. Bill Lee (R) said in a statement Friday.

A spokesperson for Dollywood told local media Friday that the theme park was working on plans to reopen as the state relaxes its restrictions on large attractions.

The state's decision is guided by criteria offered by the White House, as Tennessee has reported downward trajectories in COVID-19 illnesses and hospitalizations. 

Tennessee reportedly tests 2 percent of its population per month for the novel coronavirus.

Davidson County, where Nashville is located, has reported a total of 3,795 coronavirus cases and 41 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Davidson County reported an increase of 50 cases in the past 24 hours.