Starting tonight at 9 p.m. all Tullahomans not performing essential services will be under a mandatory curfew, following an emergency proclamation issued by Mayor Lane Curlee this afternoon.

In the board chambers room upstairs at City Hall, Curlee hosted a special informational session regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it may affect Tullahoma.

At the beginning of the session, Curlee read aloud a proclamation that began at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 23 that “strongly requested” Tullahomans to “shelter at home.”

Part of the shelter-at-home directive is new mandatory curfew hours from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew does not apply to “anyone performing emergency or first responder services, essential government services, law enforcement services, rescue services, safety services, health services, essential utility services or military services.” The curfew will also not affect anyone traveling to or from or “engaging in lawful employment.”

Curlee’s proclamation also prohibits public and private gatherings of 10 people or more, instead encouraging people to utilize digital technologies to communicate.

When it comes to certain businesses that must remain open, Curlee encourages all employees to work from home “where feasible.”

Those businesses not deemed “essential” by the proclamation have been ordered to close starting Tuesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. This gives businesses a little more than 24 hours to get a plan in place.

There are a number of exceptions to the proclamation of businesses deemed “essential” or providing essential services. They include:

Federal and state offices and services and private companies or individuals performing under federal, state or local government contracts;

Law enforcement and businesses that provide government programs and services;

Media, communications or telecommunications companies, such as The News or TUA LightTube;

Grocery and beverage stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores that sell food, and other businesses that “directly support the food supply;”

Health care, mental and behavioral health services;

Sanitation and waste removal

Energy, water and sewage businesses and services;

Pharmacies and medial suppliers;

Vehicle fuel, support and service stations and vehicle parts and repair businesses;

Vehicle sales, leasing and rental businesses;

Banks and insurance companies;

Legal and judicial services;

Parcel transportation and delivery businesses;

Nonprofit entities providing support and assistance in response to COVID-19; and

Other businesses and services that may be determined as “essential for the continued safety and security of the city of Tullahoma and Coffee County.”

The full list of exempted businesses and entities can be found in the full document below.

Also included in the proclamation are encouragements for essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies to establish special hours for senior citizens or other high-risk individuals, a reminder to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and encouragement to utilize telecommuting and work from home wherever possible.

The proclamation also states that any local city ordinance that is inconsistent with the proclamation is currently suspended.

The order is expected to last until April 6, according to Curlee, though it may be extended if the city deems it necessary.

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.

Staff Writer

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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