Civic and business leaders in Knox County generally plan to incorporate COVID-19 restrictions into their holiday celebrations this year.
In the latest local Power Poll, 60 percent of respondents said they would restrict holiday gatherings to members of their own households, seven in 10 plan to stay home during the season and 88 percent are doing all or part of their shopping online.
Only 6 percent of respondents said they would hold traditional holiday celebrations without following COVID-19 recommendations made by public health officials. Nearly one in four reported they would celebrate with others but follow the recommendations, whether they are inside or outside.
10 New BlueCross Healthy Place Projects Coming in 2021
By Scott Wilson
Vice President, Corporate Communications and Community Relations
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Throughout the year, we’ve been celebrating our company’s 75th anniversary of serving Tennesseans. We realized another great way to do that would be giving Tennesseans more ways to enjoy outdoor spaces in their communities. As a result, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation will create 10 new BlueCross Healthy Places across the state’s three Grand Divisions.
Our foundation will invest $750,000 in each of the 10 spaces, bringing the statewide total to $7.5 million.
The project sites are spread across Tennessee in communities large and small:
- Alamo: Crockett County High School
- Baxter: Baxter Seminary Park
- Chattanooga: St. Elmo Park
- Farragut: Town Hall Park
- Johnson City: Kiwanis Park
- Memphis: Foote Park
- Murfreesboro: Barfield Crescent Park
- Paris: Eiffel Tower Park
- Shelbyville: H.V. Griffin Park
- Woodlawn (Clarksville): Woodlawn Park
Each site will receive one of the following project packages, based on the needs of the community:
- Thrive and Play – an inclusive, multi-generational space
- Community Hub – a pavilion surrounded by fitness and play elements
- Family Fun – a family space with playgrounds and adult fitness equipment
- Fitness and Fun – a space featuring play areas and fitness elements, including a fitness station and timed challenge course
Of course, these are just the latest BlueCross Healthy Places. Four have opened in Memphis, Huntland, Kingsport and at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill.
In Knoxville, work is underway to create the BlueCross Healthy Place at Morningside Park. Adjacent to downtown and surrounded by a variety of neighborhoods, the $5.5 million investment will create a community pavilion, accessible playgrounds, a multi-purpose field, fitness pods and walking trails.
Two more BlueCross Healthy Places are underway in Nashville and Chattanooga.
With the addition of the 10 new projects for 2021, the BlueCross Foundation has invested $31.7 million in community spaces across the state.
BlueCross Healthy Places are an important part of our mission to serve our neighbors, right here in Tennessee. We look forward to partnering with communities across the state to create more spaces and provide new amenities for all residents to enjoy.
Related Resources from BlueCross:
Only two people — 1.3 percent of all respondents — plan to do all their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Twice that number are doing no holiday shopping at all. And the few who are traveling for the most part plan to drive, not fly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home as the best means of protection against COVID-19 during the holidays.
Travel isn’t advised for those who meet several conditions, including if you, someone in your household or someone you are visiting is at risk for severe complications from COVID-19; if cases are high or increasing where you live or at your destination; and if you are traveling by bus, train, or airplane, where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
For those who do travel, the CDC recommends getting a flu shot, checking for travel restrictions at your destination, and other suggestions. At the forefront are the “five core actions” — maintaining 6 feet of distance between you and those who don’t live in your household, wearing a mask, washing hands, sanitizing surfaces and staying home when sick.
Looking ahead to 2021 — and so many people are ready to put 2020 in the books — there is optimism about the recently developed COVID-19 vaccines. On Thursday, Knox County hospitals received their first batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which are designated for healthcare workers and first responders. Widespread distribution isn’t expected to ramp up until next spring.
Half the respondents are very confident about the effectiveness, availability and safety of the vaccines, and another 40 percent are somewhat confident. The remainder have no confidence (5.4 percent) or are unsure (4.7 percent) about the vaccines.
The Power Poll is not a scientific poll but a survey of views and attitudes among community leaders. For this survey, 710 people were invited to participate and 149 returned responses — a rate of 20.99 percent. Here are the questions and results.
How are you planning to hold holiday gathering with family and friends?
Our household only: 90 (60.4 percent)
Outdoors while following COVID-19 guidelines: 11 (7.4 percent)
Indoors while following COVID-19 guidelines: 26 (17.4 percent)
Traditional gatherings without following COVID-19 guidelines: 9 (6 percent)
Unsure: 13 (8.7 percent)
How are you shopping for the holidays?
All in person: 2 (1.3 percent)
Mostly in person, some online: 12 (8.1 percent)
Mostly online, some in person: 100 (67.1 percent)
Online only: 31 (20.8 percent)
Not shopping: 4 (2.7 percent)
How do you plan to travel over the holidays?
By plane: 6 (4 percent)
By automobile: 36 (24.2 percent)
Other: 1 (.7 percent)
Will not travel: 103 (69.1 percent)
Unsure: 3 (2 percent)
For the new year, how confident are you in the availability, effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines?
Very confident: 74 (49.7 percent)
Somewhat confident: 60 (40.3 percent)
Not confident: 8 (5.4 percent)
Unsure: 7 (4.7 percent)