Gov. Bill Lee issues stay-at-home order through April 14

Gov. Bill Lee announced a safer-at-home order March 30, which was updated to a stay-at-home order April 2. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Bill Lee announced a safer-at-home order March 30, which was updated to a stay-at-home order April 2. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gov. Bill Lee announced a safer-at-home order March 30, which was updated to a stay-at-home order April 2. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated 2:35 p.m. April 2

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced April 2 he will sign Executive Order No. 23 calling for all residents to stay at home until April 14 unless they are carrying out essential activities, according to a release from the governor's office.

This order overrides Lee's previous safer-at-home order issued March 30.

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen decreases in movement around the state as Tennesseans socially distance and stay at home,” Lee said in a statement. “However, in recent days we have seen data indicating that movement may be increasing and we must get these numbers trending back down. I have updated my previous executive order to clearly require that Tennesseans stay at home unless they are carrying out essential activities.”

Lee said during an April 2 press conference that businesses will be given a chance to comply with the new orders before local and state agencies become involved.

"We’re asking business to act responsibly and not put public health at risk, and we except that they’ll do that," he said.

According to data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the state saw a drop in vehicle movement from March 13-29; however, data from March 30 showed travel increasing.

"April stands to be a very tough month for our state," Lee said. "COVID-19 is an eminent threat and we need you to understand that staying at home isn’t an option—it’s a requirement for the swift defeat of COVID-19 in Tennessee."

Original post: 2:36 p.m. March 30

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced March 30 the state is now under a safer-at-home order to limit the spread of coronavirus in the region by mandating social distancing practices.

Lee said coronavirus has been confirmed in 77 of the state’s 95 counties and has caused 13 deaths statewide. While many cities have already implemented stay-at-home orders, Lee said he was concerned about the number of rural communities that are seeing growing case numbers.

Executive Order 22 mandates that all non-essential businesses "that cannot possibly safely operate" close for at least a 14-day period. Lee cited business including barbershops, salons, recreational and entertainment outfits as examples of these types of businesses. State-deemed essential services include hospitals, doctor’s offices, restaurants that offer to-go service only and grocery stores.

“Today, I’m announcing measures that will implement safer-at-home guidelines in every county in our state to better our approach to social distancing while also protecting the livelihood of Tennesseans,” Lee said. "This is not a mandated shelter-in-place order, because it’s deeply important to me that we remain a state that protects personal liberties, but it is a strong urging for Tennesseans to stay at home when at all possible because I also believe that with personal liberty comes personal responsibility.”

Residents are advised to avoid leaving their home except for necessary trips, such as going to the grocery store for essentials only.

“We need you to stay home where at all possible,” Lee said during a press conference.

This order follows a series of restrictions announced by the governor’s office, including an order announced March 22 restricting all outside visitors to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and a March 24 announcement calling for schools across the state to remain closed through April 24.

The Tennessee Department of Health announced March 30 the total number of cases of coronavirus across the state is now at 1,834, an increase of nearly 300 cases since yesterday. This is the highest day-over-day increase to date, according to daily data released by the TDH.

This order is not expected to add any new restrictions for residents in Davidson County—which has been under a stay at home order since March 22—or for many cities in Williamson County that have declared a state of emergency, closing all but essential businesses on March 20. Both orders were originally set to last 14 days, however officials have yet not announced whether those orders will be extended.

"The faster we blunt the surge of this spread, the faster we all get to go back to work," Lee said. "The COIVD-19 pandemic has caused tremendous uncertainty for Tennesseans and left many small businesses in a vulnerable position, so we’re also calling on the business community to embrace alternative business models and partner with us in the fight of COVID-19."

According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals can practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other individuals and avoiding non-essential trips to public places, especially if they are sick.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


 (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Coronavirus cases in Tennessee rise by 447 in past 24 hours

Cases of the coronavirus across the state are nearing the 25,000 mark.

Hundreds of Franklin residents overflowed from the corner of the First Missionary Baptist Church parking lot to listen to church leaders, educators, city officials and concerned citizens speak out against systemic racism across the county at a candlelight vigil held June 2. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
Franklin community leaders speak out against racism at candlelight vigil

The Jesus and Justice Candlelight Prayer Vigil was held in remembrance of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more black Americans who were killed in recent weeks.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Tennessee. (Community Impact staff)
Cases of coronavirus in Tennessee rise by more than 800 cases in 24 hours

New cases reported June 2 shows one of the largest spikes of positive cases in recent weeks, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health.

A candlelight vigil will be held at First Missionary Baptist Church in Franklin on June 2 from 6-7 p.m. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Candlelight vigil to be held in Franklin at First Missionary Baptist Church

A candlelight vigil will be held at First Missionary Baptist Church in Franklin on June 2 from 6-7 p.m. in remembrance of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more black Americans who have been killed in recent weeks.

A dozen faith leaders in Nashville will hold a prayer vigil on the front lawn of the Metro Courthouse on June 2. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Prayer vigil June 2 and more: News from the Nashville area

Read the latest news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Nashville area.

The Williamson County Library has been closed since March. (Courtesy Pexels)
Williamson County Library in Franklin to reopen to public 3 days a week beginning June 1

The library will allow patrons to come inside the building with restrictions in place.

The Franklin Theatre has been on Franklin's Main Street since the early 1930s. (Courtesy Visit Franklin)
The Franklin Theatre to reopen June 12

Patrons will be required to wear face masks, and seating will be adjusted to allow for social distancing.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Tennessee. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Tennessee coronavirus cases up by more than 500 in past 24 hours

Case numbers rose to more than 23,000 cumulative cases over the weekend.

After being closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Williamson County Animal Center in Franklin reopened its doors to the public June 1. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County Animal Center reopens June 1

Visitors of the center are required to follow guidelines set out in Gov. Bill Lee’s Tennessee Pledge Plan, including being asked to wear a facemask and to maintain social distancing while inside the center.

The Williamson County Public Library launched a summer reading challenge starting June 1. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County Library launches online summer reading challenge

Children up to age 18 can log reading hours online for a chance to win prizes.

The June 2 meeting will also be available for residents to watch via livestream at home. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)
Metro Nashville news and more: Updates from recent coverage

Read the latest Nashville-area news here.

Gov. Bill Lee’s economic recovery group announced plans to lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and businesses in Tennessee as well as to reopen larger, noncontact attractions by May 22. (Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper)
State preps to expand hospital capacity, plus four other Nashville updates

Here are five recent updates from the Nashville area on businesses reopening, the path to economic recovery and more.