Much of 2020 has been overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic as state and local governments work to enact policy meant to slow the spread of the virus, while businesses and schools respond to the effects of closures. Take a look back at some key events from the past year.
Tennessee's first case of coronavirus confirmed in Williamson County
On March 5, Gov. Bill Lee announces the state's first case of coronavirus is confirmed in Williamson County. At the time, the risk of spreading the virus to the public was deemed to be low.
Schools announce first closures
Following spring break, officials with Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District announced schools would remain closed through March 9.
Lee declares statewide state of emergency
Following confirmation of the virus in Tennessee, Lee issues a state of emergency and announces the state will begin testing for the virus. At the time, the Tennessee Department of Heath had the capacity to test about 500 people.
Lee calls for schools to close
Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District announce they will close through at least April 3.
Local cities declare state of emergency
The cities of Franklin and Brentwood issue state of emergency orders, calling on restaurants to offer take-out only and for all nonessential trips to pause.
Unemployment spikes by 1,300% in Tennessee
In late March, the state saw 39,000 new unemployment claims in one week as businesses scrambled to cope with closures and furloughs.
Lee issues stay-at-home order
To help slow the spread of the virus, which at the time had been confirmed in 77 counties, Lee announced he would enact a safer-at-home order, calling for all nonessential business to close for a 14-day period.
"We need you to stay home where at all possible," Lee said.
Williamson County begins COVID-19 testing
On April 6, county officials announced COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites would open through the county.
Schools close for remainder of academic year
Following a recommendation from Lee, Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District announce campuses would remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year.
Stay-at-home order expires, COVID-19 testing moves
Lee announces April 20 that after several weeks, Tennessee's safer-at-home order will expire April 30. Williamson County announced COVID-19 testing will now be held at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center on Long Lane.
County issues first mask mandate
Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson issues the county's first mask mandate as cases continue to rise that the start of summer. The order was later extended to Aug. 29.
Williamson County gears up for return to school
After weeks of deliberation, Williamson County Schools approves its back-to-school plan, which includes option for students to learn virtually or on-campus, but allows the district to change protocols depending on case counts. Franklin Special School District approved a similar plan.
Students return to on-campus learning
Citing dropping COVID-19 metrics, Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District opt to allow students to return to on-campus learning in late August.
Cases see decline after summer surge
In late summer and early fall, active cases of coronavirus saw a drop, mostly due to a change in reporting from the TDH. Williamson County opts to let its mask mandate expire.
Schools address time, knowledge lost
With school back in session, officials and staff at Williamson County Schools began taking steps to address learning loss associated with the pandemic. At the time, studies showed learning loss could be as high as 49%.
Lee lifts business restrictions
After about seven months of restrictions on businesses to slow the spread of the virus, Lee announced Sept. 29 restrictions on businesses would be lifted in 89 counties, including Williamson. At the time, TDH Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the state may reassess restrictions if positive coronavirus cases spike again.
Mask mandate returns
On Oct. 22, Anderson announced the county's mask mandate would be reinstated, citing rising case numbers.
Williamson County extends mask mandate through end of 2020
Citing another rise in active COVID-19 cases, Anderson issued an extension to its previous mask mandate, calling for residents to continue wearing masks through the end of the calendar year. The mandate was later extended again to last through at least Feb. 27, 2021.
Health care providers, education officials issue warnings about holiday rise in cases
Officials with Williamson County Schools and local hospitals, including Williamson Medical Center, expressed concern over possible rises as people gather for holidays as cases in Williamson County reach a new all-time high.
Lee limits gatherings as cases surge
Just before Christmas, Lee issued an executive order limiting gatherings to 10 people through Jan. 19.
Vaccinations begin in Williamson County
Front line workers and first responders began receiving the vaccine as active cases numbers continued to climb following the holiday season.
How Williamson County, Tennessee responded to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020
Throughout the past several months, Williamson County has been working to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, with testing, and now, vaccines. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)