TENNESSEE (WATE) – Officials and lawmakers in Tennessee are reacting to the governor’s announcement of expiring the Safer at Home Order on April 30.
Encouraged by the COVID-19 case count and low increase percentages, state officials said Monday they were encouraged it was safe to begin reopening the economy in a phased, strategic way.
“While the health outlook is showing signs of improvement, our economic outlook tells a very different story,” Gov. Lee said Monday during the COVID-19 briefing. “Social distancing works, and as we open up our economy, it will be more important than ever that we stay committed to that. Lives and livelihood depend on it. But here’s the reality – for the good of our state, social distancing must continue, but our economic shutdown cannot.”
The governor announced the reopening of some Tennessee businesses in the coming weeks. He did not specify which ones, but the Economic Recovery Group is working with industry leaders and local health departments on guidelines and a plan.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon says:
“Recent trends in Knoxville indicate that our social distancing efforts are working. If the numbers continue to show this ‘flattening of the curve,’ I support reopening our economy, lifting restrictions in a gradual way, based on data, not dates.”Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally says:
“Since the emergence of COVID-19 in this state, Governor Lee has been flexible and data-focused. Due to the Safer at Home order, the curve is flattening and damage to the public health has been minimized. We are testing more Tennesseans than ever and that will continue.
We are now well-prepared for a cautious reopening and economic reboot. Our state has consistently balanced the health of our people with the health of our economy. That remains the case today as we prepare to reestablish Tennessee’s strong and structurally sound economy.”Lt. Gov. Randy McNally
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Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs says he agrees with Governor Lee’s decision to expire the Safer at Home Order, and that he’s pleased that some businesses will begin to open as early as next Monday (April 27).
“None of us could have imagined facing circumstances like these during our time in public office, but Gov. Lee’s leadership throughout this unprecedented crisis has been calm, measured and reassuring.
I look forward to working with the State to develop a plan for Knox County that gets people back to work as safely and quickly as possible.
As of today, Knox County has 28 active cases. Our case trend line has remained flat over the past week and our recoveries are increasing. Hospitals in our region are just over fifty percent occupied, and thanks to the efforts of our local health departments, hospitals and TEMA, we are well positioned to accommodate an increase in COVID-19 patients should there be an unexpected increase in the trend line.”Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs
In a news release, Tuesday morning, the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus said Lee is putting the lives of our loved ones and Tennesseans at risk by opening too soon.
“While the Caucus fully supports getting Tennesseans back to work, it needs to be done in a manner that protects the lives of residents during this unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” the caucus said in its news release. “As of today, the number of positive cases are still increasing in Tennessee.
“The Lee administration has proven that it is incapable of managing the state under the stay at home order: We have had PPE shortages, insufficient and incomplete testing and have not had a comprehensive plan for contact tracing laid out to the public.”
Tenn. State Rep. John Ray Clemmons says that the governor, “bumbled thru the COVID-19 emergency.”
State Representative Jason Zachary is pleased with the governors announcement, thanking him for, “listening to Tennesseans.”