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Lee order to limit restaurant service, close bars and gyms

From staff reports • Mar 22, 2020 at 12:49 PM

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Sunday limiting restaurants to takeout, drive-thru and delivery services only and closing all bars and gyms across the state.

Executive Order 17 comes in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. The order goes into effect Monday and continues through April 6.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” Lee said in a release from his office. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position.”

With the purchase of food, establishments may sell unopened alcoholic beverages by takeout or delivery to those who are 21 and older.

The order also prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people and restricts visits to nursing homes, retirement homes and long-term care or assisted-living facilities to “essential care only.”

“I urge every Tennessean to take these actions seriously — our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19,” Lee said.

Residents were told to work from home “where feasible,” but Lee stopped short of mandating that people shelter in place. 

All Tennessee schools are closed at least until the end of the month. Some plan on being closed longer.

There have been at least 371 positive tests for the coronavirus in Tennessee. The state reported its first death from COVID-19, a 73-year-old man in Nashville with underlying health conditions, on Friday.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness. The vast majority of people recover.

For more information on the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, or to find resources, click here.

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