TN Gov. Lee extends COVID-19 state of emergency through Sept., three NETN localities extend mask mandates in response
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed a new executive order extending the state’s COVID-19 state of emergency through Sept.
Included in the extension is a provision which allows local governments the authority to require the use of face masks. Measures also extended with the new executive order includes limited visitation at nursing homes and continued access to telehealth services. Lee also signed a new executive order on Friday that permits local governing bodies to continue conducting meetings electronically. Below are additional provisions that were extended on Friday:
*Urge persons to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others, while facilitating local decision-making concerning face covering requirements;
*Urge social distancing and limit social and recreational gatherings of 50 or more persons, unless adequate social distancing can be maintained;
*Provide that employers and businesses are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group Guidelines (e.g., Tennessee Pledge) for operating safely (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments have authority to issue different directives on businesses/venues);
*Provide that bars may only serve customers seated at appropriately spaced tables and must follow the Economic Recovery Group Guidelines (e.g., Tennessee Pledge) for restaurants (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments have authority to issue different directives on businesses/venues);
*Continue access take-out alcohol sales to encourage carryout and delivery orders;
*Increase opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce;
*Facilitate increased testing and health care capacity;
*Extend deadlines and suspend certain in-person continuing education, gathering, or inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact; and
*Increase opportunities to work remotely where appropriate.
In response to Gov Lee’s local authority mask mandate extension, several Northeast TN localities extended their mandates. Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy and Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor extended their county’s mask mandates through the end of Sept., while Unicoi County mayor Garland Eveley extended Unicoi mandate through Sept. 19. Hawkins and Carter County’s mandate expires tonight at midnight, while Sullivan and Greene County have already extended their mandates into Sept.