Governor lifts most Covid-19 restrictions on Tennessee businesses

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WDEF) – Gov. Bill Lee is extending the state of emergency in Tennessee, but also lifting Covid-19 restrictions on most Tennessee businesses.

He is keeping the state of emergency through October to keep the state eligible for federal relief (as long as the national state of emergency remains in place).

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The Governor’s new Executive Order  maintains the authority of local governments to mandate masks, like here in Hamilton County.

But it also removes restrictions on businesses and on gathering sizes.

“We’re six months into this pandemic and Tennesseans know how to assess risk.  They know how to operate safely and I have every confidence that they will do so.”

However, that is for the 89 counties where the state operates local health departments.

Six counties, including Hamilton, are still under the authority of their local health departments.

Governor Lee says “COVID-19 is still a serious problem and I encourage every Tennessean to continue social distancing and doing their part to make wise choices and help mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Executive Order No. 63 includes provisions that:

  • Provide that persons with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay at home, and that employers may not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work;
  • Urge persons to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others, while facilitating local decision-making concerning face covering requirements;
  • Urge social distancing from those outside of your household, while eliminating caps on gathering size that have proven overly complex and arbitrary because they do not adequately account for critical considerations such as venue capacity and physical characteristics, type of activity involved, and location (indoors vs. outdoors), and thus undermine the more important focus on social distancing;
  • Providing a framework for safe visitation for nursing home and long-term-care facilities;
  • Allow for the reopening of senior centers, while providing that capacity must be limited to the extent necessary to accommodate adequate social distancing;
  • Provide that employers, businesses, and venues are expected to comply with the Tennessee Pledge for operating safely (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments continue to have existing statutory authority to issue additional directives on businesses/venues);
  • Continue access to take-out alcohol sales to encourage carryout and delivery orders;
  • Allow broad access to telehealth services;
  • Increase opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce;
  • Facilitate increased testing and health care capacity;
  • Extend deadlines and suspend certain in-person continuing education, gathering, or inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact; and
  • Increase opportunities to work remotely where appropriate.