Non-essential businesses are at the center of Tennessee’s new stay-at-home order.
The new mandate was issued by Gov. Bill Lee Thursday afternoon amid mounting pressure from medical professionals and city leaders. It requires Tennesseans to stay home unless they are traveling for essential activities.
It also reaffirms that companies that offer non-essential services such as barbershops and nail salons need to close until April 14.
“We are asking businesses to act responsibly and not put public health at risk,” Lee told reporters via a videoconference Thursday. “We expect that they will do that.”
Lee tasked local authorities with enforcing the latest stay-at-home order. He said that each community is different and he’s decided to let local law enforcement agencies decide how to ensure businesses in their community comply with the rule.
“We gave them clear direction that enforcement was appropriate and that it was something that we expect to happen if companies don’t ultimately comply,” Lee said. “So, they will develop their own enforcement specifics.”
Lee said he decided to issue a new executive order after traffic and cellphone mobility data revealed that movement around the state has been on the rise in recent days, even after he issued a less strict “Safer at Home” recommendation.
Lee says his administration’s analysis of traffic patterns for the month of March showed people are leaving their homes again.
He called the numbers “troubling.”
“There’s clear evidence that some citizens are beginning to disregard safer-at-home measures,” Lee said. “It’s dangerous, it’s unacceptable.”
Lee said he doesn’t know why Tennesseans are not taking his order seriously.
Many in the medical community have been calling for a stay-at-home mandate for the last two weeks.
Details of new executive order:
- Mandates Tennesseans to stay at home unless participating in essential activity or essential services.
- Closes non-essential businesses, but encourages them to offer delivery, curbside delivery.
- Essential activity includes: seeking emergency services, obtaining necessary supplies such as groceries, going outdoors, walking, visiting a place of worship or attending a funeral.