‘If not June, certainly July,’ Tennessee’s economic leader forecast complete re-openings by summer


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – By the official start of summer, Tennessee could be fully reopened.

“There are business people I’m sure have been enormously frustrated because their livelihood has been severely diminished thanks to Covid,” Tennessee’s Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe said.

He added the full weight of Tennessee’s economy could be moving along soon.

“I think we will be up operating, maybe at full tilt. If not June, certainly July,” Rolfe said.

For some native Tennesseans, the hustle and bustle of the state isn’t wanted.

“It’s growing, but I think it’s growing a little to fast, actually too much,” Sandy Webb said.

For others, they say it’s exactly why they’re coming to Tennessee.

“It’s just kind of become the place to be honestly — just the economic growth, there’s more opportunities,” Kimberly Rollins, a Louisiana tourist said.

Many businesses have closed their doors since early last year.

“We were shut down March a year ago and so everybody just was trying to hang on,” said Rolfe.

Business in Tennessee, however, is looking up.

“Right around January 1, it’s like the world opened up again and you’re going to say ‘Bobby how did that happen?’ and I think it’s just simply companies that were sitting on the sideline for nine months and they had to move forward with whatever they’re doing to expand their market and product offerings,” He said.

But while Tennessee is facing rapid growth, some aren’t sharing in the success.

“Are all of us enjoying the same economic prosperity across the 95 counties? The short answer is no,” Rolfe said. “We have certain areas growing at a much faster rate.”

However, rural Tennessee’s economy isn’t left out according to the Commissioner; jobs are flocking to many areas.

“When I think of our rural economy, I think of advanced manufacturing. I think of the automotive industry,” Rolfe said.

Rolfe also says Tennessee is in prime position to bounce back significantly when tourism increases.

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