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C&C Pawn damaged in Wednesday evening fire

NEWPORT—A Newport business sustained heavy damage after a fire erupted on Wednesday, May 20.

The Newport Fire Department was dispatched to 825 Cosby Highway in reference to a structure fire at C&C Pawn Shop just before 6 p.m. that evening.

Upon arrival Firefighter Eric Herndon said he observed smoke coming from the eaves and front door of the business that is owned by County Legislative Body member Forest Clevenger.

Herndon said fire crews deployed “hand lines” and made entry into the building to extinguish the fire.

According to a social media post, Clevenger stated that everyone is ok. The business was closed at the time of the fire and no one was inside. Clevenger also stated that no property was lost and there was heavy damage to the back office where the fire allegedly started. The estimated damages according to reports is in excess of $30,000.

Recovery Group Issues Updated Guidance for Restaurants and Retail, Allows for Large Attractions to Open

NASHVILLE—Tennessee continues to advance the state’s reopening plan under the Tennessee Pledge, as the Economic Recovery Group issued updated guidelines today for restaurants and retail, along with new guidelines that enable attractions and larger venues to reopen with social distancing and capacity restrictions on or after May 22. The State continues to meet the White House gating criteria with a downward trend in case growth, increase in testing capability and sufficient hospital capacity.

“Tennesseans have worked hard to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state, and their efforts have allowed us to continue to reopen our economy further,” said Governor Bill Lee. “These guidelines share best practices to ensure our state’s businesses can continue to operate in a way that protects customers and employees while putting people back to work.”

The updated guidelines enable restaurants and retail to increase capacity as long as social distancing protocols remain in place. Restaurants should continue to space tables 6 feet apart, or install physical barriers where adequate separation isn’t possible. Bars remain closed unless used for seated, in-restaurant dining where there is 6 feet of separation between customer groups. Live music is permissible with appropriate precautions, which include maintaining at least 15 feet of separation between performers and audience in order to reduce potential exposure.

Large, non-contact attractions and venues including concert and performance venues, amusement and water parks, auditoriums, theaters and dinner theaters, zoos, large museums and more can also reopen safely under new Tennessee Pledge guidelines. Strong measures to protect employees and customers are recommended, including screening of employees and customers, creating plans for managing guest flow, and limiting capacity to ensure separation between small groups.

Full guidelines can be found on TNpledge.com for:



Attractions and Large Venues

Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual, county-specific reopening plans created in consultation with State and local health departments.

The Economic Recovery Group (ERG), composed of 30 leaders from the public and private sector, is crafting guidance to assist businesses in a safe reopening. The industry representatives participating in the ERG collectively represent over 140,000 Tennessee businesses that employ over 2.5M Tennesseans.

COVID-19 case count continues to increase in Tennessee

COCKE COUNTY—The number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee increased by 433 according to data provided by the TN Department of Health.

The total number of cases across the state now totals 19,394.

Two additional deaths have been reported since the last report, and the state’s total now sits at 315.

More and more test are being performed on citizen, and the total increased by 7,587 from Thursday to Friday. The total number of tests given now exceeds 368,000.

Cocke County’s number of cases sits at 20. The total number of active cases is now at two, as 18 have now recovered from the virus.

There have been 870 tests performed on citizens of the county.

In surrounding counties the number of cases has increased slightly from the last report.

Sevier now has 70 cases with a total of four being active at this time.

Greene County has a total of 47 cases, but just three of those are considered active.

Hamblen has 25 confirmed cases with the total number of active cases sitting at four.

Sevier, Greene and Hamblen has all reported two deaths from COVID-19.

Cases across the country continue to increase as the total of cases has surpassed 1.62 million.

Almost 95,600 deaths have been reported across the U.S.

More than 5.1 million cases have been confirmed globally as of May 22.

The death toll is closing in of 336,000 worldwide.