Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs executive order halting all dine-in restaurants, bars; gyms to close

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Sunday signed an executive order mandating businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight CDT on Monday, March 23, until midnight CDT April 6.

The order also outlines ways businesses and citizens should work to protect vulnerable populations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” said Gov. Lee in a press release. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position.”

Executive Order 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people and also enacts the following provisions regarding restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments:

  • Establishments are to exclusively offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options to support families, businesses and the food supply chain during this emergency.
  • Establishments may sell alcohol by take-out or delivery (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to those who are age 21 and up.

Gyms and fitness/exercise centers or substantially similar facilities are to temporarily close and suspend in-person services until April 6, according to the release. In the meantime, these businesses are encouraged to pursue digital programming, if possible.

The order also pursues additional measures to keep vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying conditions safe:

  • Visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted-living facilities is now limited to visits involving essential care only.
  • Businesses are encouraged to enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.

“I urge every Tennessean to take these actions seriously – our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19,” said Lee.

“Knox County will follow Executive Order 17 signed by Governor Lee this morning calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 until April 6, 2020,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said in a Facebook post.

“This order does not effect drive-thru, take-out or delivery service for any establishments. Please continue to support our local businesses,” Jacobs added.

The governments of Blount County, the cities of Maryville, Alcoa, Friendsville and Townsend, and the towns of Rockford and Louisville said in a joint news release they support and expect compliance with the governor’s order.

More information regarding COVID-19, health resources and support for small business is available HERE.

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