Gov. Lee to allow 'Safer-at-Home' to expire April 30

Posted at 3:00 PM, Apr 20, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Governor Bill Lee will allow the state's "Safer-at-Home" order to expire on April 30 with the most businesses in 89 counties allowed to re-open on May 1.

“Our Economic Recovery Group is working with industry leaders around the clock so that some businesses can open as soon as Monday, April 27,” said Gov. Lee in a press release. “These businesses will open according to specific guidance that we will provide in accordance with state and national experts in both medicine and business.”

Gov. Lee emphasized that even though businesses will be reopening, it's important for social distancing guidelines to remain in place.

The Governor said his office will work with Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties and their health departments as they plan their own re-open strategies.

“While I am not extending the safer at home order past the end of April, we are working directly with our major metropolitan areas to ensure they are in a position to reopen as soon and safely as possible,” said Lee. “Social distancing works, and as we open up our economy it will be more important than ever that we keep social distancing as lives and livelihoods depend on it.”

Lee created the Economic Recovery Group (ERG), composed of 30 leaders from the public and private sector to craft a multi-phase plan to reopen the state's economy as well as offer guidance to businesses while reopening.

The industry representatives participating in the ERG collectively represent over 140,000 Tennessee businesses that employ over 2.5M Tennesseans. More information about ERG is available here [].

Sen. Jeff Yarbro released the following statement in response to the governor's decision:

"The decision to re-open starting next Monday is a results-oriented decision by Gov. Bill Lee.
It's not that we have capacity to test, trace, and isolate cases; to safeguard nursing homes vulnerable populations; or to provide guidance or PPE to all who need it. It's very risky. If we do this without the right safeguards, it could be devastating not just to people's health but to the desperately needed economic recovery.
I know Tennesseans will do all they can to do this safely, and I pray it works. But this is a decision driven by "when" not "how."
We have to re-open the economy. But if this is done in a rushed, haphazard manner that leads to a resurgence of exponential growth, it will wipe out the gains of the last month and make it harder to re-open in the strong way we need.
The economy is not going to come back if people think they're being treated as "acceptable losses."
Was there medical advice to do this now? Is there a detailed strategy that hasn't been released yet, but that's somehow going to be adopted across the state in 7 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.


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.