The Compass Guide to COVID-19

Marie's Tavern 3-19-20

The Compass Guide to COVID-19

All of our coverage of the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic in Knoxville, Knox County and Tennessee.


a sidewalk sign outside marie's olde towne tavern on north central street on march 19, the day before all bars in Knox county were closed.

It is rare for anything to affect every facet of daily life the way the coronavirus pandemic has. At Compass, we are covering its impact day by day on local business, government, education and life in general. We have moved all of our coverage of the pandemic outside our paywall, so it is free to read and share. We have pulled together all of our reporting to date here with easy links, including a compilation of items from our daily subscriber email.

We have also compiled a list of valuable resources for easy reference. We will continue updating all of these links for as long as necessary. We also hope this will serve as an archive for future reference, to track the evolution of the crisis and response.

Compass Coverage 

“Anticipating Action” (March 6, 2020)
As the coronavirus arrives in Tennessee, officials implement response plans, impose travel restrictions and take other precautions.

“COVID-19 Spreads to East Tennessee” (March 11, 2020)
With no cases confirmed in Knox County, UT suspends travel and prepares for online instruction, while the Health Department monitors the situation.

“COVID-19 Cancellations Accelerate” (March 12, 2020)
As the Big Ears Festival pulls the plug and UT moves classes online, researchers explain what they know about the rapidly spreading coronavirus — and the things they still don’t.

“Knox County Confirms First Case of COVID-19” (March 13, 2020)
Officials say there is still no local ‘community transmission,’ as the total number of cases in Tennessee doubles.

“A Tide of Uncertainty” (March 16, 2020)
As closures mount and grocery store shelves are depleted, Knoxville businesses take steps to address coronavirus concerns.

“Pandemic Preparations” (March 17, 2020)
With Knox County’s COVID-19 count still at one, Knoxville declares an emergency, Knox County Schools close through April 3 and UT moves the rest of its semester online.

“Restaurant Reactions” (March 18, 2020)
Knoxville’s food service industry tries to adjust to the fast-changing landscape of coronavirus restrictions.

“Absent but Accounted For” (March 18, 2020)
As novel coronavirus cases rise statewide and leaders promise aid, Knox County registers its second COVID-19 patient on a technicality.

“Shelters in Place” (March 19, 2020)
Organizations that provide services for Knoxville’s homeless population are making adjustments as they prepare for COVID-19.

“Closing the Doors” (March 19, 2020)
Knox County plans to shutter its libraries tomorrow, after rising concerns from employees.

“Power Poll: Coronavirus Response” (March 20, 2020)
Local officials get a low score for preparation but higher marks for steps taken to mitigate the threat posed by the pandemic.

“Last Call” (March 20, 2020)
Responding to the COVID-19 threat, the city closed all bars and restaurants, while the county shuttered bars and placed limits on restaurant capacity.

“Class Struggle” (March 22, 2020)
Knox County Schools say they’re not equipped to provide equitable education while classrooms are closed. Some parents and teachers want to know why not.

“More Mitigating Measures” (March 23, 2020)
As Tennessee healthcare professionals prepare for a tsunami of COVID-19 patients, they ask Lee for greater public restrictions.

“Restaurant Restrictions” (March 23, 2020)
Lee orders all restaurants and bars in Tennessee to close or offer only carryout or delivery service, and limits public gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.

“Capitol Exodus” (March 23, 2020)
As the state Legislature barrelled toward a budget vote and recess last week, local lawmakers saw things to applaud and lament.

“UT Learns to Zoom” (March 24, 2020)
On the first day of online classes, faculty and students adjust to a new kind of classroom. Pajamas allowed.

“Home, Safe Home” (March 24, 2020)
Knox County orders nonessential businesses to close and implores residents to stay home as much as possible as the coronavirus spreads.

"Digital Democracy" (March 25, 2020)
City Council zoomed into a new era Tuesday by holding its first remote meeting as a measure against spreading the novel coronavirus.

"The Big Empty" (March 26, 2020)
Scenes from an underpopulated spring afternoon.

"Testing and Trusting" (March 26, 2020)
With cases steadily rising, streets are quiet while state and local officials focus on measuring the spread and blunting the impact of the novel coronavirus.

"Home Work" (March 27, 2020)
In its first virtual meeting, the school board supports a plan to provide educational materials to students stranded while classrooms are closed.

"Knoxville Calling" (March 27, 2020)
The city will have a spring music festival after all — a virtual one. Welcome to this Saturday’s Sofa Soirée.

"Stocking the Pantries" (March 27, 2020)
The sudden surge in unemployment has led to a sharp increase in demand for food from organizations serving the less fortunate.

An ongoing compilation of coronavirus-related items from our daily subscriber email, organized chronologically.
Community Resources

State of Tennessee
COVID-19 Information from Gov. Bill Lee’s office.

Knox County Health Department
Coronavirus information page.

University of Tennessee
Systemwide coronavirus information.

UT Knoxville
Coronavirus information for the Knoxville campus.

Knox County Schools
School system coronavirus information.

Knoxville Chamber
COVID-19 information for local businesses.

Tennessee Valley Authority
TVA-related coronavirus news and information.