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Tennessee Gov. closes non-essential businesses, urges 'Safer at Home' guidelines

Tennessee Gov. to announce closure of all non-essential businesses due to COVID-19 (FOX 17 News)
Tennessee Gov. to announce closure of all non-essential businesses due to COVID-19 (FOX 17 News)
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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order Monday "strongly urging" "Safer at Home" guidelines and implementing closures of all non-essential businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the executive order, restrictions are placed on businesses that can't safely operate, including salons, barbershops, recreational and entertainment outlets.

Gov. Lee is asking residents to stay home under his executive order, but not mandating it.

"We need you to do that, to protect the lives of your neighbors and fellow Tennesseans,” Governor Lee said. "Your habits and your routines will make the difference."

These measures go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and lasts through April 14.

As of Monday, Tennessee has more than 1,900 cases and 13 deaths, including several midstate nursing home and retirement home residents, country star Joe Diffie and the brother of Lt. Governor.

This comes after "Safer at Home," state of emergencies, or similar measures have already been set in highly populated areas like Davidson, Sumner, Franklin, Brentwood, Tullahoma and Murfreesboro.

Thousands of Tennessee doctors have been urging Gov. Lee to take shelter at home measures to help fight the spread of COVID-19. However, these same doctors are calling out the newest executive order, saying the measures are "not enough," even questioning "How many deaths will it take for Governor Lee to listen to health experts?"

“This order doesn’t go far enough to save lives and keep Tennesseans in their homes,” Dr. Milstone said. “Gov. Lee’s weak leadership has created confusion, and that in turn is undermining the strong, early steps many of our cities’ mayors took to protect families. Now some Tennesseans are separating from others, but many ARE NOT -- and this means this virus keeps spreading. Urging separation is not enough.”

Here's a breakdown of cases in Tennessee:

COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • Mild respiratory illness with:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Some patients have severe symptoms that require hospitalization

Here are the latest guidelines from the White House on coronavirus:

  • Older people and those with a serious underlying health condition should stay home and stay away from other people.
  • If you, your children, or anyone in your household is sick, you should stay home and contact your medical provider.
  • Everyone should avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 or more people.
  • Everyone should avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts. Instead, guidelines suggest using the drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options.
  • Everyone should avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
  • Everyone should avoid visiting nursing homes, retirement, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

Health officials said these are the best ways to prevent illnesses from spreading:

  • 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 cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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For questions or concerns about COVID-19, the Tennessee Department of Health created a patient hotline: 877-857-2945.

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