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Franklin, Brentwood declare state of emergency in response to COVID-19

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Posted at 8:02 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 21:24:22-04

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Friday night two cities in Williamson County declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, pandemic.

The city of Franklin will close down in-person dining services inside bars and restaurants at midnight Friday. The declaration will also close gyms and fitness centers.

Salons and spas are asked to limit operations to comply with CDC guidelines. Churches are urged to hold services virtually if possible.

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore has asked residents who are returning from a spring break vacation to self-isolate for seven days.

The city is working to set up designated pick-up parking spots for restaurants in downtown Franklin.

"While this is a difficult and uncertain time, the only way to stop the spread and save lives is to take strong action now. Williamson County currently has the second highest number of cases in the State of Tennessee," said Mayor Moore. "The safety and health of our community are the City’s top priority and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this time."

In Brentwood, in-person dining has also been suspended. Starting 6 p.m. March 21, all dining service inside bars and restaurants will close, as will gym and fitness centers.

Mayor Rhea Little urged citizens to support restaurants by buying a gift card, ordering take out or dropping off a meal to a neighbor.

Those returning from vacation are also asked self-isolate for 14 days.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.