Attractions & Large Venues Guidelines
For the purposes of these guidelines, the term “attractions and large venues” means any venue (indoor or outdoor), facility, or place of interest which offers leisure, amusement, or entertainment activities. Despite hosting a large number of people on-site at any one time, such venues should operate in a manner such that persons from different households or small groups are able to substantially maintain 6 feet of separation from other persons or small groups outside their own group during their visit.
These venues could include, for example, concert and performing arts venues, amusement and water parks, auditoriums, theaters and dinner theaters, zoos, and museums, roller or ice skating rinks, and sporting event venues.
Executive orders from the governor and/or local orders in six counties with a locally run county health department (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan) continue to limit group sizes for participation in social and recreational gatherings and require persons or groups of certain sizes to maintain separation from other persons or groups outside their own group. Venues should be mindful of applicable orders and ensure that their operations facilitate compliance with them.
The overarching goal of these guidelines is to reduce exposure to individuals and surfaces that may result in COVID-19 exposure by maintaining safe distances between people (at least six feet), reducing contact with and improving sanitization of common surfaces, and increasing personal protective equipment use. Venue operators should evaluate the profile of their customer and employee engagement with the venue and other persons at such venue to make appropriate adaptations as necessary, even if not specifically described below.
These guidelines do not replace or supersede any requirements applicable to your business or licensed employees pursuant to law or regulation. Rather, these guidelines are intended as a supplement to assist with safely reopening and providing services due to COVID-19. These guidelines are subject to change.
In addition to strict adherence with CDC guidelines, the State recommends all large group attractions implement an assortment of measures to protect consumers and employees, including:
- Daily screen all staff reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms with the following questions:
- Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
- Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat?
- Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
- Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
- Temperature screening staff:
- Best practice: employers/operators to take staff temperatures on-site with a no-touch thermometer each day upon arrival at work
- Minimum: temperatures can be taken before arriving. Normal temperature should not exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Direct any staff who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., answers “yes” to any of the screening questions or who is running a fever) to leave the premises immediately and seek medical care and/or COVID-19 testing, per Tennessee Department of Health and CDC guidelines. Employers should maintain the confidentiality of employee health information.
- All staff should stay home when feeling ill, when exposed to COVID-19 (e.g., positive household member case), or if diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Staff who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the CDC (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
- Staff should wear cloth face coverings (not an N-95 or medical mask, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) while at work and in public to help protect against the spread of the virus
- For activities requiring close contact between staff with customers (e.g., physically checking customer safety restraints on a ride, etc.), have staff wear PPE such as masks, avoid face-to-face contact with riders, minimize physical contact with riders, and wash their hands often
- Employers should provide training to staff on mitigation and safeguards, including social distancing protocol for interacting with customers
- Provide sanitizing stations in staff areas such as a wash station with soap and running water and/or hand sanitizer
- Practice recommended social distancing to the greatest extent possible— “Further is safer”
- Stagger shifts, breaks, and meals, in compliance with wage and hour laws and regulations to promote social distancing
- Allow employees not providing in-person support to work from home as much as possible
- Staff should increase hygiene practices—wash hands more frequently, avoid touching face, practice good respiratory etiquette when coughing or sneezing
- Covered employers and employees should be aware of the provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which allows for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons, such as for self-quarantining or seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms
- Restrict access to confined areas (field office, control room, etc.) to only essential staff
- When third parties must be on-site (e.g., deliveries), adopt screening measures and/or protocols to reduce contact between employees and third parties with appropriate social distancing precautions and use of personal protective equipment
- Post extensive signage on health policies, including the following documents, in the workplace to help educate building occupants on COVID-19 best practices:
- Screen customers/visitors for illness upon their entry into the venue or attraction:
- Best practice: Temperature checks and symptom screening questions (see below) asked of every customer. Customers with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on premise.
- Minimum: Post signage listing symptom questions and/or conduct direct screening of customers regarding COVID-19 symptoms
- Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
- Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
- Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Strongly encourage (or at attraction’s discretion, require) guests to wear cloth face coverings according to CDC guidance
- Avoid combining persons or small groups with other non-household or non-associated persons or small groups within 6 feet of one another. For some indoor venues, this could mean maximum capacity is below 50% due to closed rows or seats to maintain 6 feet of distance
- For example, applicable governor’s executive orders and/or local orders in six counties with a locally run county health department may permit multiple separate small groups to sit in an area and watch an event, but only if the separate groups maintain at least six (6) feet of separation from one another, rather than all attendees sitting together without adequate separation. Maintaining such separation may place limits on overall venue capacity. Venues should be mindful of applicable orders regarding maximum size for separate groups to ensure that their operations facilitate compliance with them.
- Limit the number of guests inside an attraction at a given time, excluding employees and representatives of third-party delivery companies, to 50 percent or less of venue occupancy based on Tennessee’s Building and Fire Code in order to promote appropriate social distancing. Consider a limited number of tickets per day and utilize timed entries. Limit audience size for a performance. Large gatherings offer more opportunities for person-to-person contact and therefore pose greater risk of COVID-19 transmission
- Elevator use should be limited to 4 individuals at a time in order to support distancing standards, except if a larger group is from the same household or acquaintance group
- Minors must have direct parental supervision and are encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines
- Encourage visitors to avoid water fountains. Consider alternatives to offer drinking water (e.g., single-serve options, bottled water) or encourage customers to bring their own water
- Recommend that persons more vulnerable or at-risk for COVID-19 as identified by the CDC—including those who are over the age of 65 or those who have severe underlying medical conditions—take extra precaution or refrain from visiting the attraction
Business Process Adaptation
- Plan for potential COVID-19 cases, and work with local health department officials when needed (e.g., monitor and trace COVID-19 cases, deep clean facilities)
- Establish health/safety protocol for the venue should a customer or employee fall ill while at the attraction and not be able to immediately leave the facility. Immediate isolation the ill person and have the person wear a mask.
- Consider establishing a “guest flow” plan, including managing queues and making walkways or stairways one-way or clearly divided for bi-directional travel. Include appropriate directional signs/markers. Address high-traffic intersections to maximize physical distance between persons
- Limit the duration of indoor activities or performances, as prolonged visits within a confined space may increase risk of exposure
- Implement social distancing “reminder” signs, floor decals or ground markings, or video/audio announcements prior to reopening
- Temporarily close areas of the attraction not conducive to social distancing, as density of people within a confined area increases opportunity for virus transmission
- Promote social distancing in seating areas by spacing out tables or eliminating or closing a portion of the tables. Sanitize common seating areas and frequently-touched surfaces throughout the day, following a consistent schedule (recommended at least every two hours)
- Use barriers (“sneeze guards”) at ticket windows and point of sale stations; clean such barriers regularly (every two hours and when visibly dirty). Encourage advance ticket or other purchases where possible
- Use separate designated entrance and exit points to the attraction or locations within the attraction to manage customer ingress and egress (while maintaining appropriate availability of emergency/fire exits), when possible. If lines form or are anticipated, ensure 6 or more feet of separation between persons or groups by using ground markings
- Hand sanitizer should be made widely available for guests to use
- Implement workplace cleaning and disinfection practices, according to CDC guidelines, with regular sanitization schedule of high-touch surfaces at frequent intervals
- Adjust routine building and attraction checklists to include appropriate sanitization procedures as recommended herein or by the CDC
- Sanitize high-contact surfaces and shared equipment such as mini-golf clubs, harnesses, helmets, lap bars, etc. after each use
- For venues operating parking lot trams, use modified seating arrangements to allow for appropriate social distancing; regularly sanitize seats
- Limit self-service food and beverage options (food samples, communal packaging, food/beverages, etc.)
- Designate staff to be tasked with implementing heightened hygiene and disinfection practices
- Utilize cashless or contactless payment methods where possible (e.g., advance purchase online or by phone, or no-sign credit card payment)
- Consider refund, exchange, and event cancelation or postponement policies, in anticipation that ill persons will be unable to attend or if local health conditions change in your community
- Where possible, maintain visitor/customer contact information for up to 30 days in order to assist public health officials in the event necessary
- Attractions that include food service or concession operations, retail operations, and/or water/swimming operations should also adhere to the general provisions for those specific industries as outlined in the Tennessee Pledge, available at:
- Refer to CDC guidance for mass gatherings or large community events
Recommended Attraction Closures/Modifications
In addition to applicable industry, regulatory, or CDC guidelines, implement the following additional measures for specific types of activities or attractions:
- Singing/Live Music - Research and the CDC suggests that activities like singing or using a projected voice may project respiratory droplets in greater quantity and over greater distance, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly with prolonged exposure. Maintain at least 15 feet of separation—and more if possible—between audience members and performers such as vocalists and singers. Adopt seating and spacing modifications to increase physical distance from a performer. Where necessary, install barriers to minimize travel of aerosolized particles from performers, or implement alternative placement of performers. In addition, maximize physical spacing between performers on-stage
- “Pop-up” or street performances - Events that may gather crowds of onlookers outside of controlled seated areas should be avoided in order to maintain appropriate social distancing
- Photography areas - Guests should only utilize if social distancing is possible
- Playground - Avoid opening playgrounds and high-contact water play areas (e.g., splashpads) until advisable
- Interactive touch displays - For now, do not utilize interactive exhibits where visitors touch display items or controls that cannot be easily sanitized (e.g., fabrics, tightly enclosed spaces)
- Amusement parks
- Consult manufacturer’s specifications regarding resuming operation of amusement devices and rides after extended closure
- Performing arts and concert venues, theaters, and auditoriums
- Follow guidelines for sanitizing multi-use equipment like microphones
- Modify seating by blocking off seats or rows within a section to accommodate social distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals from different households or groups
- Limit physical contact between ushers and guests. Ushers should wear face coverings
- Maintain CDC-recommended distancing between performers and audience, particularly for vocal or other performances involving projected voices. Eliminate any performances or components in which performers go into the audience or audience members are encouraged to come on-stage
- Zoos and aquariums
- Avoid offering interactive experiences like animal encounters until advisable
- Establish reduced capacity limits for, or do not open, indoor exhibits until advisable
- Museums and historic sites
- Use designated visitor traffic patterns where possible
- Establish queuing distances and maximum grouping sizes throughout
- If the attraction utilizes docents, promote social distancing guidelines and limit physical contact between docents and guests. Docents should wear face coverings
- Roller or ice skating rinks
- Refer to Non-Contact Recreation Guidelines for any game/arcade activities offered on-site