Local officials from Tennessee’s four major cities this week formed a Tennessee Major Metros Economic Restart Task Force to plan and coordinate the restoration of business activity currently suspended due to COVID-19.
Nashville and Davidson County Mayor John Cooper, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke are involved, according to a press release.
“The Tennessee Major Metros Economic Restart Task Force is composed of business leaders and health care professionals appointed jointly by each metro area’s city and county mayors. Task Force appointees were vetted with and agreed to by the County Mayors in each metropolitan area — Mayors Lee Harris (Shelby County), Glenn Jacobs (Knox County), and Jim Coppinger (Hamilton County.) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has begun a process for planning the reopening of Tennessee’s economy, and this Task Force intends to further link communities together in a coordinated response,” the press release said.
“Over the last month, the mayors of Tennessee’s ‘Big Four’ cities and counties have signed multiple executive orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. These orders have placed their cities under states of civil emergency, asked the public to observe strict social distancing measures, and required the closure of non-essential businesses and public gatherings. Governor Lee has maintained regular contact with Big 4 mayors to discuss protocols for eventually lifting these restrictions. The Tennessee Major Metros Economic Restart Task Force is an organized way of collecting input and collaborating with the state government about how to handle this process safely.”
The Task Force will listen to medical experts and evaluate economic conditions to develop recommendations and public health protocols for reopening. These recommendations will focus on the factors that indicate when businesses are safe to reopen; how businesses should be smoothly phased in; and the specific requirements for safe business operations, the press release said.
“The Tennessee Major Metros Economic Restart Task Force will be staffed by the Chiefs of Staff and/or Deputy Mayors of each mayor,” the press release said.
“It will begin meeting next week and will make public disclosures of their initial discussions, findings, and action steps next week.”
Tennessee Major Metros Economic Restart Task Force Members include the following:
• Alan Crone, Crone Law Firm
• Charles Ewing, Ewing Moving and Storage
• Dr. Manoj Jain, infectious disease specialist
• Kevin Kane, Memphis Tourism
• Beverly Robertson, Greater Memphis Chamber
• Dr. James Hildreth, Meharry Medical College
• Laura Hollingsworth, Ryman Hospitality
• Dr. Alex Jahangir, Head of Metro Coronavirus Task Force
• Rob McCabe, Pinnacle Financial Partners and Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
• Kathy Brown, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
• Dave Miller, First Horizon Bank
• Mike Odom, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce
• Ryan Steffy, SoKno Taco Restaurant
• Philip Byrum, Monen Family Restaurant Group
• Wade Hinton, Unum
• Dr. Kathleen Hunt, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger
• Mitch Patel, Vision Hospitality Group
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “John Cooper” by John Cooper. Photo “Indya Kincannon” by Indya Kincannon. Photo “Jim Strickland” by Aspaan-19. CC BY-SA 4.0.