Knox County Pandemic Regulations Will Remain In Effect Despite Board of Health Power Change

Knox County Pandemic Regulations Will Remain In Effect Despite Board of Health Power Change

Last month, Knox County Commission voted to strip the board of its policy-making ability. The move instead turns the group in to an advisory board for the county’s health department and its health director, Dr. Martha Buchanan. That means Buchanan can consult board members for their advice and feedback, but they will no longer have the same authority to enact policy.

How will this all play out? We answer your questions. Knox Co. mayor talks pandemic policies ahead of health board power shift

Even though County Commission passed the ordinance to shift the health board’s power at the end of March, the change did not happen immediately. The Knox County mayor’s office told us that since the action was completed by ordinance, it takes effect 15 days after its adoption. That means the ordinance becomes effective on April 13, and that’s when the board becomes advisory, according to Knox County Law Director David Buuck.

Tuesday, April 13. When exactly will the Board of Health become advisory?

“The mandates issued by the BOH expire and become of no legal force and effect after April 13,” wrote Law Director Buuck. What happens to the pandemic regulations put in place by the board of health?

The indoor mask mandate took effect July 2020. The Restaurant Occupancy Limitation and Early Closure Regulation applies to restaurants, bars, event venues, and other similar food and drink establishments, including night clubs. They must limit capacity to 50% occupancy and keep at least 6 feet between parties not from the same household. They’re also required to close for on-site consumption at 1 a.m. Currently, the board of health has two active regulations in place: the COVID-19 Restaurant Occupancy Limitation and Early Closure Regulation, as well as the COVID-19 Face Covering Regulation.

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