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Tennessee Dems on Lee's COVID response: 'We need the governor to step up and lead'

Posted at 11:47 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 19:58:36-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Tennessee Democratic lawmakers spoke Monday following Gov. Bill Lee’s address to Tennesseans on the state’s rising COVID-19 numbers.

Democratic lawmakers spoke via Zoom in response to Gov. Lee's prime time address, in which he called on Tennesseans to wear masks and avoid gatherings with anyone other than their immediate household in hopes of avoiding another surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

“We need the governor to step up and lead. No more suggestions, no more urging or giving into the crazies who deny the virus and no more giving up on containing the spread of this virus that’s killing this many Tennesseans,” said Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D - Nashville).

The governor's Executive Order 70 lasts until Jan. 20, 2021. It 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.

Although Lee has emphasized the necessity of mask wearing to mitigate the spread of the virus, he has resisted continued calls to issue a statewide mandate and continued to do so Sunday night.

ANALYSIS: Gov. Bill Lee's new COVID-19 order doesn't actually change much