KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced during a statewide address on Sunday he is signing an executive order, limiting indoor social gatherings to 10 people.
Worship services, weddings, funerals and related events are not considered social gatherings under the order and are exempt from the 10-person limit.
Gov. Lee said he is encouraging Tennesseans to make the hard decisions during the holiday season, including to only hold indoor gatherings with people in your household.
He is also asking all to Tennesseans to wear masks during the holiday season.
Another part of the order he is signing includes limiting attendance at high school sporting events.
“I believe high school sports are important for our kids and they should continue,” Gov. Lee said. “In coordination with the TSSAA, we are limiting attendance at indoor sporting events.
The TSSAA is expected to release more guidance about those limitations on Monday.
Gov. Lee is also asking business owners to let employees to work from home for the next 30 days. If working from home is not available, he said masks should be worn at work.
“I believe in the courage of Tennesseans to face this darkest hour,” Gov. Lee said. “I believe that victory will be ours and we have the power to determine how long this extends. If we each do our part, we will win and move to a new season of health and prosperity for our state.
No statewide mask mandate was put in effect. Gov. Lee said 70 percent of Tennessee communities are already under a mandate, and is urging the rest to mask up.
Gov. Lee also said the National Guard will now deploy medics to help with COVID-19 hospitalizations. This is to help with the rise hospitalizations during the pandemic.
Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) also issued the following statement following the announcement.
“I greatly respect Gov. Lee, his authority and his desire to do what he believes is best for Tennessee and for its citizens. I fully support the governor’s approach to not place further restrictions on our businesses through lockdowns or another safer at home order. For several months, businesses across this state have demonstrated they can safely and successfully reopen – both for their employees and for their customers. Our recent increase in cases is not the result of people dining out, shopping, or from citizens safely returning to work. It is directly correlated to the Thanksgiving holiday. As we prepare for Christmas, I strongly urge everyone to use extra caution when spending time with their families. Wearing masks in public, continuing to social distance, hand washing and limiting social gathering sizes are all part of the correct path forward, and these measures will enable Tennesseans to safely and joyfully celebrate the holiday season. Our country was conceived in liberty; I applaud the governor’s continued stand for individual freedoms and against “Big Brother” government solutions. I believe in Tennessee and its citizens, and I know we will all take the appropriate measures to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.”