Governor Lee Urges Residents To Stay At Home; Orders Non-Essential Businesses To Close

  • Monday, March 30, 2020

Governor Bill Lee on Monday issued an order urging, but not mandating, that Tennessee residents stay at home.

He also is closing non-essential businesses, including beauty salons and entertainment venues.

Governor Les said the “shelter-in-place” order was strongly urging people not to get out in order to try to stop the rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus.

He said, “We need you to do that, to protect the lives of your neighbors, and to protect the lives of our citizens… we need you to stay home where at all possible.”

The governor said the state would seek to help businesses develop alternative methods of operation.

Senator Lamar Alexander said, “Painful as it is, Governor Lee is right. Everything I’ve learned as chairman of the United States Senate health committee persuades me to support his decision.

Staying at home is an essential step one in containing the disease and saving lives. New federal laws will help keep many payrolls coming and relieve some financial burdens. 

"I am hard at work on step two, a new ‘Manhattan Project’ to produce the largest possible number of COVID-19 tests with quick results that will detect and isolate the few who are sick and care for them so the rest of America can go back to work, back to school and out to eat. At the same time, Congress has already put $11 billion into step three: a massive effort to create treatments and hopefully a vaccine.”

Collegedale officials said, "To mitigate the spread of Covid-19, Collegedale officials announced today that the city is continuing its Executive Order issued on March 22, 2020, declaring a state of emergency and is following Governor Lee’s Executive Orders 21 and 22, mandating a two-week statewide order closing non-essential businesses.  Both orders take effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and last through April 14.  Residents are encouraged to stay home as much as possible. 

"Executive Order 21 orders a statewide temporary closure of salons, spas, concert venues, theaters and other indoor recreational facilities." 

Here is the full Order from Governor Lee:


WHEREAS, local, state, and federal officials have taken numerous actions to limit the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), including a series of statewide executive orders, a nationwide emergency declaration by President Trump, and many local health and emergency orders and actions; and

WHEREAS, on March 4, 2020, the first case ofCOVID-19 in the State of Tennessee was identified, and now there are 1,834 total cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee, resulting in 148 hospitalizations and 13 deaths; and

WHEREAS, despite the numerous actions taken in recent weeks to limit the spread of COVID-19, in the last five (5) days, the number of cases in Tennessee has more than doubled, and there are now at least 72 counties with cases, indicating that COVID-19 is spreading throughout all areas of the State and presents a serious risk to the health, safety, and welfare of all Tennesseans, which requires further statewide action to contain the spread of COVID-19 and preserve the State's health care resources; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that COVID-19 is frequently spread "[b]etween people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)," and on March 16, 2020, President Trump issued the President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America, which have been extended through April 30, 2020, and encourage people to contribute to the containment of COVID-19 by taking various precautions, including: a. Working from home whenever possible; b. Avoiding social gatherings of ten (10) or more people; c. A voiding eating or drinking at restaurants, bars, and food courts, and instead using drive-thru, pick-up, or delivery options; d. Avoiding discretionary travel and social visits; 1 e. Avoiding discretionary visits to nursing homes, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities; f. A voiding close contact with people who are sick, and distancing oneself from others, especially those who are at higher risk of getting sick, including in particular older adults and persons with serious chronic medical conditions; and g. Practicing good personal hygiene, including washing hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface, avoiding touching the face, and disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible; and

WHEREAS, the CDC advises that "[t]he best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus," and the best way to avoid being exposed to the virus is to remain home except as necessary to engage in essential activities, in which case the following health guidelines consistent with the President's and CDC's guidance above (hereafter referred to as "Health Guidelines") should be followed: (1) Maintaining a distance of at least six (6) feet between themselves and others, except for family or household members; and (2) Practicing good personal hygiene, including washing hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface, avoiding touching the face, and disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible; and WHEREAS, because protecting personal liberty is deeply important, this Order is not a shelter-in-place mandate and instead strongly urges Tennesseans to stay at home when at all possible for the protection of themselves and their community; and

WHEREAS, because with personal liberty comes great personal responsibility, all Tennesseans must do their part by staying at home whenever possible for a limited period of time to avoid exposure to, and slow the spread of, this virus, which will limit the burden on health care resources and allow normal activities to resume sooner; and WHEREAS, in addition to the other emergency management powers granted by law, Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 58-2-107(e), provides that during a state of emergency, the Governor is authorized to suspend laws and rules regarding the conduct of state business if necessary to cope with the emergency, order evacuations from certain areas, make orders concerning entry and exit and the occupancy of premises within an emergency area, and take measures concerning the conduct of civilians and the calling of public meetings and gatherings, among other things; and WHEREAS, the temporary suspension of selected state laws and rules and the other measures contained herein are necessary to facilitate the response to the current emergency.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Lee, Governor of the State of Tennessee, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Tennessee Constitution and other applicable law, in light of the continuing state of emergency to facilitate the response to COVID-19, and to keep the citizens of the State of Tennessee safe and healthy, do hereby order the following statewide:

1 . Safer at home. Because staying at home as much as possible for a temporary period of time will protect the health and safety of Tennesseans by limiting the spread of COVID-19 and preserving health care resources, all persons in Tennessee are urged to stay at home, except for when engaging in Essential Activity or Essential Services as defined in this Order.

2. Closure of non-essential businesses for public use. Businesses or organizations that do not perform Essential Services shall not be open for access or use by the public or its members. Such businesses or organizations are strongly encouraged to provide delivery, including delivery curbside outside of the business or organization, of online or telephone orders, to the greatest extent practicable, and persons are encouraged to use any such options to support such businesses during this emergency.

3. Essential Activity and Essential Services should be limited. Even though Essential Activity and Essential Services are permitted under this Order, all persons are strongly encouraged to limit to the greatest extent possible the frequency of engaging in Essential Activity or Essential Services. For example, all persons are strongly encouraged, among other things, to use thoughtful planning, careful coordination, and consideration of others when engaging in Essential Activity or Essential Services in order to minimize the need and frequency for leaving their place of residence or property. When engaged in Essential Activity or Essential Services, persons shall at all times follow the Health Guidelines to the greatest extent practicable.

4. Essential Services businesses should follow health Guideline . For those offices, workplaces, and businesses that remain open as permitted by this Order, employers should take steps to the greatest extent practicable to equip and permit employees to work from home, and employees and their customers should practice good hygiene and observe the Health Guidelines and necessary precautions advised by the President and the CDC to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Employers shall not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work.

5. An employer, through its supervisors or appropriate management personnel, shall not require or allow an employee who the employer knows has tested positive for COVID-19 to report to work until that employee has satisfied the conditions for discontinuing home isolation under CDC guidelines, which are available at the following web address: https:/ /

6. List of Essential Services detailed in Attachment A. Essential Services are defined in Attachment A to this Order. Nothing in this Order precludes an employer from encouraging, allowing, or requiring an employee to work remotely or via telework as a method of conducting Essential Services, where practicable.

7. Executive Order Nos. 17 and 21 remain in full force and effect. Defining Essential Services in Attachment A does not repeal, by implication or otherwise, the terms and conditions of Executive Order Nos. 17 and 21 relative to restaurants, bars, and 3 similar food and drink establishments, gyms, fitness/exercise centers, and similar facilities, close-contact personal services, and entertainment and recreational gathering venues, and visiting nursing homes, retirement homes, or long-term care or assisted-living facilities, the provisions of which are incorporated herein and remain in full force and effect.

8. Essential Activity. For purposes of this Order, Essential Activity means:

a. Engaging in activities essential to a person's health and safety or the health and safety of family or household members, persons who are unable or should not leave their home, or pets, including, but not limited to, seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or assistance, obtaining medication, obtaining non-elective medical care or treatment or other similar vital services, or visiting a health care professional;

b. Obtaining necessary services or supplies for persons and their family or household members, persons who are unable or should not leave their home, or pets or delivering those services or supplies to others, including, but not limited to, groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies required to work from home, automobile supplies (including dealers, parts, supplies, repair, and maintenance), and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;

c. Providing, facilitating, or receiving delivery or curbside carry-out delivery of online or telephone orders from businesses or organizations that do not perform or are not necessary for the performance of Essential Activity;

d. Engaging in outdoor activity, provided that persons the Health Guidelines to the greatest extent practicable, including, but not limited to, driving or riding in a vehicle, walking, hiking, running, biking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, golf, tennis, or other sports or recreational activities that can be performed while maintaining the aforementioned precautions or utilizing public parks and outdoor recreation areas; provided, however, that congregating or playing on playgrounds presents a unique risk for the spread of COVID-19 and is therefore not covered as an Essential Activity;

e. Caring for or visiting a family member, friend, or pet in another household, or transporting or traveling with family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Order; provided, that the Health Guidelines are followed to the greatest extent practicable;

f. Visiting a place of worship or attending a wedding or funeral; provided, that the Health Guidelines are followed to the greatest extent practicable. However, it is strongly encouraged that the public celebration component of weddings and funerals be postponed or attended only by close family members; or 4

g. Engaging in Essential Travel, as defined below.

9. Essential travel. For purposes of this Order, Essential Travel means: 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

a. Travel related to Essential Activity or otherwise permitted by this Order;

b. Travel related to performing Essential Services;

c. Travel to care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons;

d. Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.

e. Travel to and from outside of the State of Tennessee; or

f. Travel required by law, law enforcement, or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.

10. Critical infrastructure remains open and operational. All critical infrastructure remains operational, and government entities and businesses will continue providing important and essential services.

11. Special care should be taken to protect vulnerable populations. Persons and businesses should take particular care to protect the well-being of those populations especially vulnerable to COVID-19, including older adults and persons with compromised immune systems or serious chronic medical conditions, by, among other things, taking care to adhere to all precautions advised by the President and the CDC and refraining to the extent practicable from physical contact and association. Businesses should further consider implementing measures to protect our most vulnerable populations by, for example, offering delivery service or special opportunities for members of vulnerable populations to shop in retail establishments exclusive of the general population.

12. Suspension of laws that would limit application of this Order. Any law, order, rule, or regulation that would otherwise limit the enforceability of this Order is hereby suspended, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 58-2-107.

13. No repeal of local orders. Nothing herein repeals, preempts, or otherwise limits the authority, if any, of a locality to issue further orders or measures on these same subjects.

14. Severability. If any provision of this Order or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this Order which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this Order are declared to be severable.

15. Term and effective date. This Order shall be effective and enforceable at 11 :59 p.m., Central Daylight Time, on March 31, 2020, and shall remain in effect until 5 11 :59 p.m., Central Daylight Time, on April 14, 2020, at which time the suspension of any state laws and rules and the other provisions of this Order shall cease and be of no further force or effect.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have subscribed my signature and caused the Great Seal of the State of Tennessee to be affixed this 30th day of March, 2020. Bill Lee. GOVERNOR

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