Governor Bill Lee on Monday issued a Safer at Home order, urging Tennesseans to stay at home except for when engaging in essential activity or services. The order will remain in effect through April 14, 2020.
Gov. Lee’s Executive Order No. 22 orders the closure of non-essential businesses for public use, but essential activities and essential services are permitted, though “all persons are strongly encouraged to limit to the greatest extent possible the frequency of engaging in essential activity and essential services.”
Essential activity includes health care, seeking emergency services, obtaining medication or medical supplies and assistance, obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products and supplies, and more. Restaurant dining is closed, but drive-thru, carryout and delivery are available.
Essential services include health care, human services, essential infrastructure, essential government, food and medicine stores, media, gas stations, hardware and supplies, mail and post, transportation, professional services, home-based care and services, and many more.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, as of 2 p.m. March 31, there have been 2,239 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Wilson County has reported 39 confirmed cases. In total, there have 23 deaths and 175 hospitalizations.
Because the coronavirus is primarily spread between people in close contact with one another, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends social distancing, or standing at least 6 feet away from others.
Another way to help prevent spreading the virus is to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. The CDC encourages everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. The virus can affect anyone, but older adults, people who are immunocompromised and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk. Learn more about COVID-19 at www.cdc.gov.
The federal government extended its guidelines for coronavirus distancing through April 30, 2020. This includes working from home whenever possible, avoiding social gatherings of 10 or more people, avoiding eating and drinking at restaurants and bars, avoiding visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, as well as the social distancing and hygiene guidelines expressed by the CDC. In addition, Gov. Lee has ordered all restaurants to cease dine-in and only offer drive-thru, carryout or delivery. The guidelines also extend the closures for schools through April 30, 2020.