Tennessee businesses urged to stop soliciting tourists during pandemic

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials want tourism businesses to stop soliciting tourists in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The mayors of five cities in Sevier County urged leisure businesses to halt guests through mid-April, the Sevierville Police Department said in a post on Facebook.

Tourists packed Sevier County a few weeks ago, even after some big attractions closed down and the public was told to practice social distancing.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued a state-wide “safer at home” order Monday mandating the closure of all nonessential businesses while urging residents to remain at home whenever possible for the next two weeks.

Lee had also ordered bars and restaurants to close with some exceptions on March 23 after county officials urged the state’s Department of Health to issue orders for the dining industry. Since then, crowds on the streets of Sevier County have thinned and many businesses have shut down.

As of Tuesday, Tennessee’s health agency had confirmed more than 2,200 coronavirus cases and at least 23 deaths, spreading across the majority of the state’s 95 counties.

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