Lee Sets Restart Date
The State of Tennessee made national news on April 20, as one of three first states to announce plans to open their economies in response to the COVID-19 virus.
Governor Bill Lee announced the order for Tennesseans to remain at home will expire April 30, with the vast majority of 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 Govenor Lee. “These businesses will open according to specific guidance that we will provide in accordance with state and national experts in both medicine and business.”
Not on Lee’s list are Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties. Lee said their health departments will 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.”
Also announcing plans to open their economies were Georgia and South Carolina.
Lee said details and guidelines would be announced on April 23.
Meanwhile, Hardeman County Mayor Jimmy Sain has worked out a plan they hope will mirror the state’s ideas.
“We need to be on the same page,” Sain told the Hardeman County Commission on April 21.
The economic recovery plan signed will re-open churches and other businesses, but it asks for social distancing guidelines on Sunday mornings.
“Maybe they could use every other pew,” Sain said, adding that he thought citizens had done a good job of preventing the virus from spreading in the county, with only eight cases confirmed as of April 21.
In Phase 1 of the plan, county offices would open, restaurants and retails spaces would open at 50% capacity, and nail salons, hair salons, and barber shops would open asking a maximum occupancy of one customer per employee, with the employees required to wear masks and gloves. Gym and health clubs would be asked to run at 50% capacity as well.
Phase 1 also says children should be prohibited from entering businesses and that mask wearing would be encouraged for all citizens.
Phase 2 would open all retail spaces not already open, without restrictions, but with social distancing guidelines remaining in place.
Phase 3 would lift all restrictions.
All phases would include a plan for “Retroactive Steps” if a substantial number of cases that cannot be traced to known cases appear or if there is a sustained rise in cases for five days and if hospitals do not have the ability to treat all patients.