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Non-Contact Recreation Guidelines


These guidelines are intended to apply to recreational venues and activities that operate with smaller groups and without contact among participants. Such activities include but are not limited to: bowling alleys, arcades, climbing gyms, water sports, golf course driving ranges, mini-golf, shooting ranges, dance classes, and other similar activities and venues that can achieve and maintain appropriate capacity and proximity limitations.

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. 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.


Safeguarding Guidance

In addition to strict adherence with CDC guidelines, the State recommends all recreation venues implement an assortment of measures to protect consumers and employees, including:


Employee Protection

  • Screen all employees reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms with the following questions:
    • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days? (Note: This does not apply to medical personnel, first responders, or other individuals who encounter COVID-19 as part of their professional or caregiving duties while wearing appropriate PPE.)
    • 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 employees:
    • Best practice: employers to take temperatures onsite 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
  • Staff should wear cloth face coverings (not N-95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) and other personal protection items as recommended by the CDC; if masks become wet or visibly dirty, the mask should be replaced
  • Employers should provide training to employees on personal coronavirus mitigation and safeguards and protective equipment based on CDC guidelines on a regular basis
  • Provide sanitizing stations in staff areas such as a wash station with soap and/or hand sanitizer
  • Practice recommended social distancing to the greatest extent possible — “Further is safer”
  • Prohibit congregating in break rooms or common areas and limit capacity of such areas to allow for safe social distancing – a minimum of 6 feet – whenever possible
  • Stagger shifts, breaks, and meals, in compliance with wage and hour laws and regulations, to maintain social distancing
  • Employees should increase hygiene practices—wash hands more frequently, avoid touching face, practice good respiratory etiquette when coughing or sneezing
  • All employees should stay home if feeling ill, report any symptoms of illness to supervisor and require notification of COVID-19 positive case in employee’s household. Employees who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the CDC (e.g., due to age or severe underlying medical conditions) are encouraged to stay home
  • Direct any employee 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.
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Post extensive signage on health policies, including the following documents, in the workplace to help educate building occupants on COVID-19 best practices:


Consumer Protection

  • Screen customers for illness upon entry to the facility:
    •  Best practice: Temperature checks for every customer. Persons with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on premise
    • Minimum: Question customers regarding COVID-19 symptoms
      • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days? (Note: This does not apply to medical personnel, first responders, or other individuals who encounter COVID-19 as part of their professional or caregiving duties while wearing appropriate PPE.)
      • 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?
  • Customers should wear cloth face coverings according to CDC guidance
  • Limit the number of customers inside any facility at a given time for indoor activities to allow for social distancing (i.e., at least 6 feet of separation)
  • Limit group sizes to ensure compliance with state and CDC social distancing guidelines
    • For example: At bowling centers and mini-golf, limit customers per lane or group, as smaller group sizes can minimize close contact and therefore COVID-19 exposure
  • Adjust equipment layout and close or restrict access to equipment to maintain appropriate social distancing among customers (e.g., at least 6 feet of separation)
    • For example: in facilities that have lanes or stations, like bowling centers, golf driving ranges, or axe-throwing establishments, discourage customers from utilizing adjacent lanes at the same time, encourage mask use if lanes are less than 6 feet apart, and/or erect physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass) between lanes
    • For example: in arcades, space games so that each game is more than 6 feet apart
    • For example: in climbing gyms, only open a portion of climbing paths to customers
  • Avoid combining persons or small groups with other non-related or non- associated persons or small groups, unless appropriate social distancing can be maintained by the combined group
  • Require customers to use only one piece of equipment during their visit (e.g. one bowling ball, putter, or rafting oar)
  • Require customers to clean equipment they come in contact with using disinfecting wipes before and after each use
  • Keep doors and windows open where possible and secure to improve ventilation for indoor activities
  • 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 use of the facility


Business Process Adaptation

  • Sanitize shared resources (such as throwing axes, bowling balls, rented shoes, and other equipment) after each use
  • Sanitize all high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces (such as counters, check- out areas, keypads, restrooms) every two hours and when visibly dirty
  • Place hand sanitizer locations in high traffic areas, including check-in/out counters, lobbies, elevator areas, food services entrances, and meeting room entrances, if any
  • Use plastic shields or barriers between customers and employees at service counters, and clean such shields or barriers frequently (every two hours and when visibly dirty)
  • Use a clearly designated entrance and a separate, clearly designated exit to maintain social distancing
  • Add social distancing “reminder” signs, such as floor decals and audio announcements to encourage customers to be mindful of maintaining 6-feet of distance
  • Remove all self-serve items on the premises (e.g., self-service bowling ball, golf club, and other selection stations); have staff provide such items to patrons directly
  • Limit self-service options (customer samples, communal packaging, food/ beverages, etc.). For onsite food and beverage services, follow restaurant guidelines issued by the Economic Recovery Group (see full Restaurant guidelines here)
  • Modify check-in and payment processes to observe social distancing and implement sanitization measures (e.g., no shared pens, use contact-less payments where possible)
  • Any youth or adult team leagues, activities, or sports should be conducted in accordance with Noncontact Sports Guidelines
  • Any activities or areas that are likely to result in physical contact between individuals (e.g., laser tag venues) should be closed temporarily
  • Any common areas where social distancing is difficult or impossible to maintain (e.g., playgrounds, children’s “ball pits”) should be closed temporarily
  • Encourage parent / guardian supervision for all children when participating in recreational activities, and ensure that children are able to comply with applicable guidelines (e.g., social distancing, wear face coverings). Note that cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies and children under age two because of the danger of suffocation
  • Where possible, customers should be encouraged to schedule appointments or call-ahead reservations
  • Prohibit use of waiting areas to avoid congregation (e.g., could adopt such practices as notifying customers by call or text message)