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Governor Lee orders Tennesseans to stay at home; law enforcement instructed to force orders

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On Thursday, April 2, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 23 requiring that Tennesseans stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities as data shows an increase in citizen movement across the state.

The executive order is an update to Executive Order 22 saying, “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 required to stay at home except for when engaging in Essential Activity or Essential Services as defined in this Order [Executive Order 22].”

All other provisions in Executive Order 22 remain in full force and effect.

Lee stated today that law enforcement throughout the state have been instructed on how to handle individuals and companies not in compliance with orders.

“In addition to update Executive Order 22 to require staying at home, I’ve provided guidance in a guidance letter to local law enforcement with respect to enforcement in forcing previous Executive Orders 17 and 21. According to that guidance, businesses will be given the opportunity to comply with the orders before further enforcement action will be taken,” said Lee.

This is a result of reviews of many aspects indicating Tennesseans weren’t taking the Stay at Home order seriously.

“We have given the authority to individual law enforcement agencies across the state to actually enforce this in their own way,” said Lee. “We think that’s the best way for it to be handled; different communities are different. Different enforcement teams are available for different areas so we gave them guidance and clear direction that enforcement was appropriate and it’s something we expect to happen if companies don’t ultimately comply. They will development their own enforcement specifics in each community but they have been given the directive to enforce.”

Businesses continuing to operate without complying to the order are urged to report the business to local law enforcement, according to Lee.

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen decreases in movement around the state as Tennesseans socially distance and stay at home,” said Governor Lee. “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.”

Data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation analyzed traffic patterns for March 2020. While safer at home measures and further restrictions on businesses showed a steep drop-off in vehicle movement from March 13-29, data beginning on March 30 indicates travel is trending upwards, again.

The Administration also analyzed data from Unacast to understand cell phone mobility and determine movement trends among people. Unacast indicates the movement of Tennesseans is trending toward pre-COVID-19 levels.

“Patterns indicate that some citizens are beginning to disregard safer at home measures,” said Lee. “This is dangerous, unacceptable and a threat to lives in our state. For that reason, today I went a step further with my safer at home order and have said that Tennesseans must remain at home unless they are engaging in essential activity. Staying home isn’t an option, it’s a requirement for the swift defeat of COVID-19.”

“The month of April stands to be an extremely tough time for our state as we face the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Lee. “Every Tennessean must take this seriously, remain at home and ensure we save lives.”

The executive order remains in effect until April 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.



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