UPDATE: Pigeon Forge issues Safe at Home Advisory

Dollywood suspending operations at resort and spa, theme park; hoping to reopen in May

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — The city mayor and City Commission issued a Safe at Home Advisory for residents of Pigeon Forge on Monday, March 23.

You can read the full advisory, here.

The announcement comes as Knox County issued a similar, but mandated, policy.

RELATED: Knox County closes all nonessential businesses with ‘safer at home order’

“This decision is difficult because we understand the continued impact it will have on our citizens and our local businesses,” the releases states. “However, this decision is necessary to save lives and reduce the burden on our local, regional and state health care system.”

The request asks all residents “to stay inside their homes, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.”

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who have to leave their home for necessary tasks are asked to stay at least 6 feet away from others.

“The City of Pigeon Forge put out today just a request for our residents to stay at home, because they’re safer at home. And that’s not a mandate and that’s not martial law, it’s not locking people in their homes. It’s really just a request for them not to take any unnecessary travel outside their home,” said Pigeon Forge mayor David Wear.

Mayor Wear said he does not have the power to mandate an order. That would have to come from their regional health director, he said. Instead, he’s strongly requesting people only leave their homes for essential activities. That includes going to the grocery store or pharmacy.

“I don’t think we’re overreacting now. I think we’re just trying to be proactive now. So I think timing is good. As you saw on the way in, there’s hardly anyone here. So I think timing is good to get this message out. We believe that it’s coming. We believe the numbers will rise, we hope they don’t, but we believe there’s a possibility that they will,” he said.

Still, it was not an easy decision for a city that thrives on tourism. The mayor shared a message with those planning a trip.

“People who are loyal and love Pigeon Forge are going to continue come back, and we’ll be here when they’re ready to come back, when it’s safe to come back,” Mayor Wear said.

Dollywood suspending DreamMore Resort and Spa, theme park openings; hope to reopen in May

That includes Dollywood and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. The Dollywood company announced on Monday evening that the resort and spa, as well as the theme park will suspend operations indefinitely.

“The coronavirus crisis is unprecedented, and based on the ever-changing developments, we are constantly re-evaluating our options and hoping to open in May,” Dollywood President Craig Ross said.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins are remaining open at this time. The company said in a release, it “will continue to watch the conditions within our region, consult with our medical experts and follow CDC guidelines to determine the reopening date for the parks and resort.”

Guests who have resort reservations or tickets purchased for the closed period of time are asked to call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD for rescheduling information.

This means residents you can: 

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

The following essential services will remain open:

  • Federal and state offices and services, including post offices and airports
  • Essential City of Pigeon Forge government functions including law enforcement, transportation, and businesses that provide government programs and services
  • Food and beverage: grocery and beverage stores, farmers markets, food banks, catering, convenience stores selling food, agriculture, food processing, feed mills, and other businesses that directly support the food supply
  • Health care, mental and behavioral health, and biomedical research and businesses that directly support the healthcare industry including health information technology, staffing and supplies
  • Sanitation and waste removal businesses and services
  • Energy, water, and sewage businesses and services
  • Pharmacies and medical supply businesses, and other businesses that directly support the drug and medical supply pipeline
  • Vehicle fuel, support, service stations and businesses
  • Banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, accounting businesses, and other business that directly support the insurance and financial services sector
  • Legal and judicial services
  • Laundromats/laundry/cleaning services
  • Home and business repair, hardware supply
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Construction and facilities design businesses
  • Product logistics, transport, and distribution businesses
  • Parcel transportation and delivery businesses
  • Veterinary and pet supply business and services including agricultural services and the caring and feeding of all livestock and farm animals
  • Home and business cleaning and maintenance services
  • All businesses which rely upon deliveries may continue, including florists
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)

In addition:

  • Daycare and childcare businesses will remain open but will prioritize children of parents working in essential services.
  • Lodging properties will remain open but must end entertainment or dining services in restaurants or group settings. Pick-up and room-service food services may continue.
  • Essential services listed above may continue as long as appropriate distancing is physically possible and encouraged. These businesses will adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene in the workplace, including encouraging work-from-home and allowing employees when possible to work on-site in shifts to optimize social distancing in the workplace.
  • All essential services, especially grocery stores and pharmacies, will make best efforts to establish hours when only available to senior citizens or otherwise vulnerable populations.
  • This does not apply to employees of government agencies working within the course and scope of their public service employment.
  • Finally, some infrastructure and construction projects are also exempt, if workers are working on:
  • Construction of commercial and institutional buildings, and residential buildings and housing
  • Airport operations, food supply, concessions, and construction
  • Water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil extraction and refining.
  • Roads, highways, public transportation and rail.
  • Solid waste collection and removal.
  • Flood control and watershed protection.
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)
  • And manufacturing and distribution companies deemed essential to the supply chains of the above industries

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