NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new executive order has been issued by the governor as the state looks to reopen the economy in phases amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Gov. Bill Lee issued a new executive order on Tuesday that “supersedes and repeals” some previous orders that had been issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new mandate, effective Wednesday, touches on how the state will allow some businesses to reopen with new health restrictions.
But, some businesses will remain closed.
Lee had said in his Tuesday COVID-19 press briefing that a new executive order was forthcoming to address the businesses that are close contact; as well as guidance on social distancing for the businesses that are allowed to reopen. Gyms were included in the list of businesses that can reopen May 1.
The order is for the 89 counties without a locally run county health department (all but Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan).
The order’s expiration date is also slated for May 29.
READ ABOUT THE KNOX COUNTY/KNOXVILLE REOPENING PLAN >>> Coronavirus: Knoxville/Knox County phased reopening plan to begin May 1
The executive order supersedes any contrary orders or measures, meaning that the counties cannot issue independent orders regarding the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues covered by this order, though counties may continue issuing or enforcing orders or measures on other matters related to COVID-19; such as opening or closure of their governmental buildings, governing their employees, or dealing with the operation of their local government.
What’s still closed
Close-contact personal service businesses (again, in the 89 counties without a locally run health department) must remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to, barber shops, salons, spas, body-art/tattoo services, tanning salons, and massage facilities.
Nursing homes and similar retirement and long-term-care facilities must remain closed to visitors, except for critical assistance and in end-of-life situations.
Entertainment and recreational gathering venues are to remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to: Bars, night clubs, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, concert and sporting event venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas, adult entertainment venues, amusement parks, senior centers, and skating rinks.
The order does allow Tennesseans and businesses to return to work in all industries where that can be safely accomplished by following health guidelines; but it also urges employers to allow or require remote work/telework if possible.
All employers and businesses that choose to open are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group (ERG) Guidelines for operating safely, as well as general health guidelines from the CDC and other government entities.
Take-out and delivery alcohol sales by restaurants will continue to be allowed, according to the order, “to encourage customers to utilize take-out or delivery options.”
Tennesseans are also urged in the order to continue limiting activity and staying home as much as possible — in order to “preserve and build on the health progress we’ve made.”
People are also urged to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others, especially where social distancing is difficult.
Gyms and exercise facilities will be allowed to reopen May 1 under strict guidelines for best social distancing practices.
What’s not allowed
Social and recreational gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited, including but not limited to festivals, fairs, parades, youth and adult sporting events, and overnight summer youth camps.
Local orders regarding medical or dental procedures are prohibited because preserving PPE is a question that is statewide in scale and shouldn’t be addressed differently in each county.
The county health departments in the six counties with locally run county health departments (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan) shall have authority to issue orders or measures that permit or restrict to a different degree than this order the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues, except for places of worship. Otherwise, Executive Order No. 30 order governs on the topics it covers.
Executive Order No. 30 supersedes and repeals Executive Order Nos. 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, and 29, effective Wednesday, April 29, but does not affect Executive Order No. 25 concerning dental and medical procedures, which is currently effective until April 30.