NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/WATE) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced he has extended the existing statewide ‘Stay-at-Home’ order requiring citizens to stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities.

The previous order was expected to expire Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. but today Gov. Lee extended the order to Thursday, April 30.

The previous order was enacted as data showed an increase in citizen movement across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic and showed that some citizens in the state were not listening to state recommendations. The order shut down non-essential businesses across the state and helped to curb the number of people leaving their homes.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs releases statement about the governor’s extension

“I understand Gov. Lee’s decision to extend the Safer at Home Order is done with the best interest of the whole state in mind,” said Mayor Jacobs. “With 36 active cases in Knox County, our numbers are stabilizing.”

“This pandemic is serious, and I certainly don’t want to underestimate it. Physical distancing wasn’t intended to eradicate COVID-19, but rather to slow its spread and ensure we didn’t overwhelm our hospital system. We know our numbers can still go up and expect they will, but with our low rate of hospitalizations and the discontinuation of elective surgeries, our hospitals are standing empty. In fact, many of those serving our health care system are being laid off or dispatched to hotspot areas, some out of state.”

“With all that in mind, I agree with the Governor: Knox County and the State of Tennessee should not continue this model of economic shut down much longer. It isn’t sustainable,” Mayor Jacobs said. “We don’t have to make a choice between a healthy economy and healthy people. There is a way to combat the virus without killing the economy. I look forward to helping create the plan that enables Knox County do this.”

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs

This is a breaking story and will be updated shortly with more information. Stay tuned to WATE 6 ON Your Site and for the latest updates.