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Non-Contact Recreation Guidelines


At present, many entertainment, recreational, establishments, and certain other gathering venues are closed to the public by governmental order (see Executive Order No. 30, as may be amended).  These guidelines do not supersede such order and are not an authorization to open to the public. In addition, Executive Order No. 30 prohibits participation in social or recreational gatherings of ten (10) or more people. Such prohibited social and recreational gatherings include, but are not limited to, festivals, fairs, parades, youth and adult sporting events, overnight summer youth camps, and other types of social or recreational assemblies or gatherings.

These guidelines are intended to apply to recreational venues and activities that are permitted to operate in smaller groups of less than 10 persons and without contact among participants to achieve appropriate social distancing (see executive order to be issued on May 7, 2020). 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.  For the sake of clarification, until further notice such activities do not include venues such as dinner theaters, theaters, concert and live performance venues, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas, adult entertainment venues, amusement parks, senior centers or equivalent facilities, roller or ice skating rinks, and other activities closed to the public pursuant to executive order.

In addition, 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 and may be revised as additional venues are open to the public.

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.

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?
    • 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
  • Employers should provide training to staff on personal 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
  • Provide regular updates and training for employees about personal COVID-19 mitigation and safeguards based on CDC guidelines
  • 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 underlying 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 selfquarantining 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?
      • 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?
  • 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 50 percent or less of occupancy based on Tennessee’s Building and Fire Code.
  • Limit group sizes to ensure compliance with state and CDC social distancing guidelines (less than 10 persons):
    • For example: At bowling centers and mini-golf, limit customers per lane or group (e.g., no more than 6)
  • 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, only open every other lane or station
    • For example: in arcades, limit the number of games so that each game can be spaced 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, even if such combined group is less than 10 persons, 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 during initial phases of re-opening

Business Process Adaptations

  • Sanitize shared resources (such as throwing axes, bowling balls, rented shoes, and other equipment) after each use, and 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 on-site food and beverage services, follow restaurant guidelines issued by 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 remain closed temporarily to discourage large gatherings (e.g., bowling leagues) (see Executive Order No. 30, as may be amended)
  • 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)