Gov. Lee signs executive order extending Tennessee's state of emergency through February

Bill Lee
Posted at 4:16 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 19:33:16-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee has extended the state of emergency in Tennessee through February.

Lee signed three executive orders Tuesday, including Executive Order No. 73, which goes into effect at 12:59 p.m. on December 29 and lasts until 12:59 p.m. on Feb. 27.

In addition to extending the state of emergency, it also allows county mayors to enforce mask mandates. Gov. Lee has resisted continued calls to implement a statewide mask order.

Executive Orders 71 and 72, respectively, extend remote meetings for governing bodies and remote notarization provisions.

The state is struggling to handle the country’s worst new COVID-19 infection surge per capita during a make-or-break holiday season.

Earlier this week, Lee signed Executive Order 70, which limits indoor public gatherings to 10 people and does not allow spectators at K-12. Collegiate and professional sports are "subject to the rules, protocols, or guidelines of their respective institutions and governing bodies."

The order does not include weddings, funerals or churches. However, it states that places of worship are "strongly encouraged" to continue using virtual or online services and gatherings and postpone weddings or funerals.

The limitation on social gatherings also does not apply to venues that may host multiple social gatherings of fewer than 10 people, as long as they are social distanced. It also does not place any restrictions on restaurant or bar capacity.

That order remains in effect until Jan. 20, 2021.