MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Days after signing an executive order to close all non-essential businesses statewide, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is now requiring all Tennesseans to stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities.
Governor Lee issued Executive Order No. 23 on Thursday, April 2.
Information from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and cell phone tracking data from Unacast, showed that over the last 3 days, Tennesseans were not following social distancing guidelines and were not staying at home.
“This is dangerous, unacceptable and a threat to lives," Lee said.
In an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus and protect critical healthcare resources, Gov. Lee said he had no choice but to turn his safe-at-home request issued earlier in the week into a stay-at-home requirement. His decision came with a stern warning.
"I want to speak directly to every Tennessean,” Lee said. “The month of April stands to be a very tough time for our state. COVID-19 is an eminent threat and we need you to understand that staying home isn't an option. It is a requirement for the swift defeat of COVID-19 in Tennessee.”
Tennessee doctors who asked Lee to issue a mandatory stay-at-home order back on March 20 applauded his efforts.
Dr. Elise Denneny, the President of the Tennessee Medical Association said, "We are grateful the Governor has made the tough decision that we believe is the right strategy to protect our citizens. Staying at home is our best weapon against COVID-19."
Per the Governor’s order, essential activities include going to the grocery store, pharmacy, bank, gas station or doctor. To see what else is and is not considered essential under Governor Lee’s order, click here.