Comparing Georgia and Tennessee's Plans to Reopen Restaurants

Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee and Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia both plan to reopen restaurants on Monday, April 27th. Each state has now issued guidelines and we have included a summary of similarities and differences as well as the full text from their state websites.

Staff Management


  • Screen and evaluate workers for symptoms including fevers over 100.4 degrees, coughing, and shortness of breath.
  • Employees should remain home or be sent home if any symptoms are present.
  • Allow for telework for possible workers and meetings held virtually.
  • Employees to wear face coverings at all times.
  • Increased sanitation, hygiene, and avoiding touch face.


  • Employees should self-isolate for seven (7) days after symptom onset and not return until three consecutive days of being symptom-free. (TN said only to reference CDC guidelines with no specific number of days listed on their report).
  • Staff should not share workspaces and tools where possible.


  • Asking specific questions about symptoms and the report listed five specific questions to ask staff reporting for work.
  • Staff to wear gloves at all times.
  • Suggested taking temperatures of staff upon arrival with a no-touch thermometer.
  • Mitigate exposure by modifying schedule and implementing social distancing guidelines.
  • Plan ahead for possible cases and work with local officials where needed for monitoring and cleaning.
  • Update the Employee Illness Policy to include COVID-19 specific information and have staff sign the policy. This policy should be posted publicly for confirmation.
  • Post CDC guidance in the workplace for the spreading of germs and symptoms. 

Guest Experience

Both states: 

  • Seating arrangements to be six feet apart.
  • Party sizes to six or less.
  • Mark social distancing where possible.
  • Provide hand sanitizer for use by patrons with contactless options where possible.
  • Sanitize table condiments, digital ordering devices, check presenters, self-service areas, tabletops, and other commonly touched areas.
  • Disposable menus or sanitized after each use.
  • Used rolled silverware (GA says to remove table presets, TN says to store in sealed bin)
  • Close salad and buffet bars.

Georgia specifics:

  • No more than 10 patrons per 500 square feet of public space. Public space is limited to waiting, dining, and bar areas but does not include hallways, restrooms, and staff only spaces. No handshaking allowed.
  • Enforcing social distancing for non-cohabitating persons while on-premise.
  • Signage on entrances to say no one with a fever or symptoms is allowed in the building.
  • Use of plexiglass or partitions where possible.
  • Use technology where possible to reduce person-to-person contact, mobile ordering, contactless payment, and texting for seating.No congregating in waiting areas or bar areas. 

Tennessee Specifics:

  • Seating is limited to 50% capacity.
  • Bar areas to remain closed.
  • No live music to be permitted.
  • Screen guests temperatures for illness as best practice.
  • Tennessee went further to say no use of stations (i.e. beverage) to be used by multiple tables.

It should be noted that because a state did not list a mitigation strategy does not imply they do or do not endorse it. Operators should review both states' guidelines and be as vigilant as possible to help both guests and staff feel comfortable and ensure safety.

We asked both states to answer a survey if they plan to reopen next week and you can review the results of Georgia here and Tennessee will be available shortly. These results are not screened for accuracy and does not reflect the thinking of Bar & Restaurant, simply the users who have taken the survey.



"Tennessee Pledge" for the restaurant industry.

Tennessee Pledge Restaurants by jerbatucan on Scribd

State of Georgia Executive ... by jerbatucan on Scribd

State of Georgia Executive Order 4.23.2020 with the portion related to restaurants starting on page 6.