Lee Shuts it Down
A statewide mandate by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee asked businesses to either close or change the way they do business in response to the COVID-19 virus.
Beginning March 30 at midnight, the statewide “safe at home” order began, restricting commercial ventures that cannot safely operate or were deemed non-essential.
Lee said businesses like barber shops, salons, recreational and entertainment venues are to remain closed until April 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. The order, at the same time, provided for the continuation of essential businesses throughout every county.
The order, which has fifteen specific mandates, includes closure of non-essential businesses for public use, a limitation on essential activities that involve others, a mandate to follow good health guidelines by the essential businesses, asking employers to prohibit workers who have the virus or symptoms of the virus from working, definitions of essential activity, and essential travel.
The order also said critical infrastructure should remain open and operational and asks for special care for vulnerable populations, such as older adults and those with compromised immune systems.
Reactions and plans put into place by municipalities in Hardeman County and the county government itself only differed on minor points. See A9.
Local government are not prohibited from applying more stringent guidelines and restrictions according to bullet point #13 of the Executive Order enacted by Lee.
Hardeman County Mayor Jimmy Sain said the county can’t wait any longer to take action.
“We will never know for sure if we have overreacted to this crisis. However, if we don’t respond adequately, we will learn that immediately,” he said.
Earlier in the month Lee extended the closing of schools to April 24.
Lee also announced he has mobilized the National Guard to assist with expanded testing effort, directed that driver’s licenses expiring after March 12 would be extended until May 18, and waived emissions testing deadlines until that date. Deadlines for license tags and titles due in the next few months were also moved back, to June 15.
Lee also moved back the filing deadline for franchise and excise taxes has been delayed until July 15. Taxpayers will have until July 15 to file returns and make any payments, including quarterly estimated payments, originally due in April.
A link to COVID-19 information from the State of Tennessee can be found at wmodradio.com.