Gov. Bill Lee has extended the state of emergency in Tennessee through the end of August. Monday, June 29, Lee signed Executive Order 50 to extend the emergency through Aug. 29.
The order allows the continued suspension of various laws and regulations and other measures in these orders to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19 through regulatory flexibility, promoting social distancing and avoidance of large gatherings and protecting vulnerable populations.
Additionally, Lee signed Executive Orders 51 and 52, which extend provisions that allow for electronic government meetings subject to transparency safeguards and remote notarization and witnessing of documents, respectively, to Aug. 29.
What is included
Executive Order No. 50 extends previous provisions that:
Urge Tennesseans to continue limiting activity and staying home where possible, as well as following health guidelines and maintain social distancing;
Urge persons to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others;
Urge employers to allow or require remote work/telework if possible;
Provide that persons with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay at home, and that employers may not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work;
Limit social and recreational gatherings of 50 or more persons, unless adequate social distancing can be maintained (this does not apply to places of worship, for which there are guidelines for safe operation of worship services and gatherings, though places of worship are urged to continue virtual or online services where possible; this also does not apply to weddings, funerals and related events, but encourages postponement of large-gathering components of such event);
Limit contact sports with a requirement or substantial likelihood of routine close contact (this does not apply to collegiate or professional sports conducted under the rules or guidelines of their respective governing bodies and does not prohibit training or otherwise practicing the elements of such sports that do not involve close contact with persons);
Limit nursing home and long-term-care facility visitation, while providing a framework for safe, limited visitation set forth in Executive Order No. 49, and continue the closure of senior centers;
Provide that employers and businesses are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group Guidelines, such as the Tennessee Pledge, for operating safely, as well as general health guidelines form the CDC and other government entities;
Provide that bars may only serve customers seated at appropriately spaced tables and must follow the Economic Recovery Group Guidelines, such as the Tennessee Pledge, for restaurants;
Urge persons and businesses to take special care to protect vulnerable populations, including by offering delivery or special shopping hours where possible;
Allow take-out and delivery alcohol sales by restaurants and limited-service restaurants to continue to encourage customers to utilize take-out or delivery options;
Allow broad access to telehealth services;
Increase opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce;
Provide easier access to unemployment benefits;
Ensure supply chain protections;
Extend deadlines and suspend certain in-person continuing education or inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact; and
Increase opportunities to work remotely where appropriate.
Executive Orders No. 51 and 52
In addition to the extended state of emergency in the state, Lee signed Executive Order No. 51, which allows all governing bodies the opportunity to meet electronically regarding essential business as long as they provide electronic access to the public and meet the safeguards established previously in Executive Orders No. 16 and 34 that ensure openness and transparency for those meetings.
The electronic meetings can continue through Aug. 29, per the new executive order. Determinations for how best to return to safe, in-person governmental meetings remain ongoing.
Executive Order No. 52 allows remote notarization and witnessing of documents, subject to compliance with certain procedures, to continue through Aug. 29 as well. This executive order ensures that certain persons, particularly those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, including older adults and person with compromised immune systems or serious chronic medical conditions, can continue to engage in commerce and execute legal documents without requiring in-person contact. It is an extension of previous Executive Orders No. 26 and 37.