NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Monday, March 30, Gov. Bill Lee announced he had signed Executive Order No. 22 instructing all nonessential businesses to close while also strongly urging Tennesseans to stay home if possible in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

RELATED: Governor Bill Lee issues ‘Safer-at-Home’ order for Tennessee

The order amends and adds to an earlier one, Executive Order No. 17, that had mandated no social gatherings of 10 or more people and also enacted provisions regarding restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments — to switch to drive-thru, carry-out or delivery options. It also ordered gyms and fitness/exercise centers or substantially similar facilities to temporarily close and suspend in-person services. The effective date for EO No. 17 was through April 7.

Monday’s executive order amended that of EO No. 17 with the order for all nonessential businesses throughout the state to close through April 14. Churches are exempt from the state order.

Gov. Lee also strongly urged Tennesseans to stay home if possible with paragraphs denoting safer-at-home measures.

Both orders gave focus on keeping vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, safe from the spread of the coronavirus. Executive Order No. 17 specifically addressed this issue, instructing visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted-living facilities to be limited to visits involving essential care only.

So, which businesses are considered “nonessential” versus “essential” according to Executive Order No. 22? Below are the lists.


Businesses or organizations that perform close-contact personal services, such as:

  • Barbershops
  • Hair salons
  • Waxing salons
  • Threading salons
  • Nail salons or spas
  • Spas providing body treatments
  • Body-art facilities or tattoo services
  • Tanning salons
  • Massage therapy or massage services

Entertainment and recreational gathering venues, such as:

  • Night clubs
  • Bowling alleys
  • Arcades
  • Concert venues
  • Theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers or similar facilities
  • Racetracks
  • Indoor children’s play areas
  • Adult entertainment venues
  • Amusement parks
  • Roller or ice skating rinks


  • Health care and public health operations
  • Human services operations
  • Essential infrastructure operations
  • Essential government operations, functions
  • Food and medicine stores
  • Food and beverage productions and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Religious and ceremonial functions
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial institutions and insurance facilities
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions (consistent with Exec. Order nos. 17 & 21)
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for off-premises consumption
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for essential business operations
  • Transportation
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

Full description of these businesses and industries as defined in the Executive Order No. 22 can be found here:

Businesses are also advised to adhere to health guidelines.

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