New Executive Order Gives Recommendations For Tennesseans to Return to Work


Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 30, an order outlining recommendations for Tennesseans to safely return to work.

“Though the measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have been and are necessary and invaluable in preserving the health and lives of Tennesseans, they have also damaged many businesses and livelihoods with approximately 400,000 unemployment claims filed since March 15, 2020 and it is essential to their health and welfare to allow Tennesseans to return to work so long as progress in slowing COVID-19 makes it safe to do so,” reads the Order.

Executive Order 30 supersedes and repeals Executive Order Nos. 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, and 29, effective Wednesday, April 29, but does not affect Executive Order No. 25 concerning dental and medical procedures, which is currently effective until April 30.

Executive Order 30 also states “to keep citizens of the state of Tennessee safe and healthy, do hereby declare continuing state of emergency to facilitate the response to COVID-19 and order the following statewide.”

Executive Order 30 Details

  • The order allows Tennesseans and businesses to return to work in all industries where that can be safely accomplished by following health guidelines, while urging employers to allow or require remote work/telework if possible.
  • Tennesseans are urged to continue limiting activity and staying home as much as possible to preserve and build on the health progress we’ve made.
  • All employers and businesses that choose to open are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group (ERG) Guidelines for operating safely, as well as general health guidelines from the CDC and other government entities.
  • Social and recreational gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited, including but not limited to festivals, fairs, parades, youth and adult sporting events, and overnight summer youth camps.
  • This does not cover places of worship, for which there will be guidelines for safe operation of worship services and gatherings if in-person services are conducted, but the order strongly encourages places of worship to continue virtual or online services where possible.
  • This does not prohibit weddings and funerals, but encourages postponement of large-gathering components of such events.
  • Entertainment and recreational gathering venues must remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to, bars, night clubs, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, concert and sporting event venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas, adult entertainment venues, amusement parks, senior centers, and skating rinks.
  • Limited service restaurants can serve food to customers seated at tables but must follow the ERG Guidelines for restaurants in doing so.
  • Close-contact personal service businesses must remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to, barber shops, salons, spas, body-art/tattoo services, tanning salons, and massage facilities.
  • Nursing homes and similar retirement and long-term-care facilities must remain closed to visitors, except for critical assistance and in end-of-life situations.
  • Persons and businesses are urged to take special care to protect and provide for the well-being of vulnerable populations, including by offering delivery or special shopping hours if possible.
  • Persons with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay at home, and employers may not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work.
  • Persons are urged to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others, especially where social distancing is difficult.
  • Take-out and delivery alcohol sales by restaurants will continue to be allowed to encourage customers to utilize take-out or delivery options.
  • Local orders regarding medical or dental procedures are prohibited because preserving PPE is a question that is statewide in scale and shouldn’t be addressed differently in each county.
  • For the 89 counties without a locally run county health department (all but Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan), this order supersedes any contrary orders or measures, meaning that the counties cannot issue independent orders regarding the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues covered by this order, though counties may continue issuing or enforcing orders or measures on other matters related to COVID-19, such as opening or closure of their governmental buildings, governing their employees, or dealing with the operation of their local government.
  • The county health departments in the 6 counties with locally run county health departments (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan) shall have authority to issue orders or measures that permit or restrict to a different degree than this order the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues, except for places of worship. Otherwise, this order governs on the topics it covers.Read the full text of the order here.

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