Local businesses prepare for holiday weekend with strengthened safety measures

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – The 4th of July holiday weekend is underway, but this year it looks a lot different. With many cities deciding to either cancel or alter their firework shows, it begs the question of how the holiday is being celebrated this year across the region.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still very present across the nation and here in Tennessee, some may choose not to celebrate the holiday in places with large crowds, but that’s not the case for everyone. There are a number of events happening over the holiday weekend in an effort to keep the holiday spirit alive.

In Jonesborough, town officials will be hosting a 4th of July block party. Main Street will be closed off to vehicles and live music will be played as residents and visitors alike explore the small businesses that make up the town. It will be an opportunity to support these locally owned businesses that have been struggling because of COVID-19 closures.

“I think it’ll be an above-average Saturday for summertime and hopefully it’ll look good and the town will be healthy so it’ll be good to have people back in town,” said Owner of The Lollipop Shop, Jeff Gurley.

Gurley said his candy shop has only been running on weekends since re-opening post COVID closures. He has hope that this weekend will be a good one in terms of traffic but said it will be nothing like the 4th of July crowds in the past.

Other shops along Main Street are excited there’s an event that will help out small businesses during this tough time but are still urging caution. At Tennessee Tails Pet Boutique, They’re asking customers to wear masks and also implementing additional safety measures.

“We will be controlling capacity to the store and there will be somebody stationed at the door making sure that we are only limiting a certain number of people inside,” said Owner of Tennessee Tails Pet Boutique, Gabe Eveland.

Staff at Noelle seasonal decor and gifts are also enforcing social distancing and even offering discounts for those who do wear a mask in their store. “When they did come in, they didn’t want to wear their mask. So we thought let’s give them a little bit of an incentive to do that and to keep everybody protected and still have a little bit of fun with it, too,” said Assistant store manager at Noelle, April Taylor.

The block party isn’t the only event happening this weekend. Select area venues, like 423 Social in Bristol, Tennessee are ready to celebrate the 4th of July holiday with live music.

423 Social owner, Marques Puckett said they will limit capacity, enforce social distancing, and provide masks at the door in order to keep everyone in attendance healthy. “We do have policies in place that will allow people to come in and try to keep them safe and still have some fun and not be cooped up in the house all the time,” said Puckett.

This 4th of July will look different, but if people follow CDC guidelines, it can be a healthy holiday weekend. “We think it is important to still have fun and participate in the holiday, but definitely play it safe,” said Taylor.

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