Monday, March 23

Gov. Lee suspends in-person dining, lifts alcohol regulations and more (WSMV-TV) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed Executive Order 17, calling for restaurants across Tennessee to use alternative business practices beginning at midnight on Monday, March 23 until midnight on Monday, April 6. Executive Order 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people. It also asks restaurants to exclusively offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options to its customers. Restaurants may also sell alcohol by take-out or delivery (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to customers 21 and older. LINK

Governor Bill Lee suspends dine-in service at restaurants statewide, orders gyms to close (WKRN-TV) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order Sunday directing restaurants across the state to suspend their dine-in services for the next 14 days, while also calling for the closure of gyms and fitness centers. The new regulations are effective at midnight central time on Monday, March 23. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” Governor Lee said in a statement. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position” LINK

Gov. Lee suspends in-person dining, lifts alcohol regulations and more (WSMV-TV) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed Executive Order 17, calling for restaurants across Tennessee to use alternative business practices beginning at midnight on Monday, March 23 until midnight on Monday, April 6. Executive Order 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people. It also asks restaurants to exclusively offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options to its customers. Restaurants may also sell alcohol by take-out or delivery (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to customers 21 and older. LINK

Tennessee Gov. Lee issues new order banning social gatherings of more than 10; restaurants and bars limited to take-out service (Times Free Press) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued a new executive order Sunday banning social gatherings of 10 people or more, while also prohibiting on-site consumption of food or drinks at restaurants, bars or similar establishments. They were among the state’s latest steps to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak. The Republican governor’s order came hours before latest state official figures show 505 Tennesseans have tested positive for the potentially deadly COVID-19 infection. One person in Nashville has died. LINK

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs Executive Order 17: suspends in-person dining, closes gyms, takes other measures to slow coronavirus spread (WBIR-TV Knoxville) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 on Sunday, which calls for businesses across the state to use alternative business models and adds new regulations to protect people at-risk of COVID-19. It goes into effect at midnight, March 23, and lasts until April 6. The order requires businesses to exclusively use drive-through, take-out or delivery options if they are able to. The executive order also allows establishments to sell alcohol in closed containers by take-out or delivery, with the purchase of food. LINK

Governor signs executive order curtailing business operations statewide (Daily Memphian) Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Sunday, March 22, calling for businesses across the state to use alternative business models beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, until midnight April 6, 2020. The order curtailing many business operations is similar to orders already put in place in Memphis and Shelby County, eliminating dine-in at restaurants and gyms, for example. LINK

Gov. Lee signs executive order mandating alternative business models for restaurants, gyms (WZTV-TV)  Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order mandating alternative business models for restaurants and gyms, as well as lifting alcohol regulations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Executive Order 17 calls for businesses across Tennessee to utilize alternative models beginning at midnight on Monday, March 23, 2020 through midnight April 6, 2020. The order also outlines ways businesses and citizens should work to protect vulnerable populations from coronavirus. LINK

Tennessee governor orders restaurants, bars closed except for takeout and delivery; gyms closed over coronavirus (Tennessean) To combat the growing spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Bill Lee has issued a statewide order limiting all Tennessee bars and restaurants to takeout, drive-thru and delivery services only. Under the order, bars and restaurants may sell beer and wine by takeout or delivery, if sold with food. Anyone ordering the drinks must be 21 or older. The order also prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people and orders gyms to close. Visits to nursing homes and retirement homes are limited to “essential care.” LINK

Gov. Lee enacts executive order for statewide closures due to COVID19 (WHBQ-TV Fox 13 Memphis) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order for business across the state to use alternative measures when conducting business from midnight Monday to April 6. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” Gov. Lee said. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position.” LINK

Lee orders Tennessee gyms to close, restricts gatherings and restaurant service (Johnson City Press) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Sunday urged residents to work from home and ordered bars and restaurants to close for 14 days starting Monday with the exception of drive-thru, take-out and delivery services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Lee’s sweeping order closed gyms and fitness centers from Monday until April 6. He also barred most visitors to nursing homes, retirement homes and long-term care facilities and prohibited social gatherings of 10 or more people. LINK

Gov. Bill Lee orders dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms to close until April 6 (Nashville Post) Gov. Bill Lee also on Sunday ordered the state-wide closure of all dine-in restaurants, bars and workout facilities until April 6. The order prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people and prohibits nonessential visitations to nursing homes and retirement communities. Lee still has not yet ordered all nonessential businesses to suspend operations, however encouraged them to “enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.” LINK

Lee orders statewide ban gatherings of more than 10 and on dine-in restaurants, bars (TN Journal) Gov. Bill Lee has issued a statewide ban on gatherings of more than 10 people and  ordered all restaurants be limited only to drive-thru or takeout service. Restaurants that serve alcohol will be allowed to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption under the oder.  Gyms and fitness centers will also be ordered closed. The executive order runs from Monday through April 6. LINK

Gov. Bill Lee issues executive order for businesses (WBBJ-TV) Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order calling for an alternative business model across the state, according to a news release from the governor’s office. Executive Order 17 will prohibit the social gathering of more than 10 people, according to the release. LINK

Governor Lee Signs Order for Businesses During Coronavirus (Memphis Flyer) Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order Sunday mandating companies across the state to use alternative business models to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Here’s the governor’s statement in full: Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight CDT on Monday, March 23, 2020 until midnight CDT April 6, 2020. LINK

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs says the county will follow Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 17 (WATE-TV Knoxville) Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said on Facebook that the county will be following Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 17 that was signed Sunday morning. “Knox County will follow Executive Order 17 signed by Governor Lee this morning calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 until April 6, 2020.” LINK

City of La Vergne Backs Governor Lee’s Executive Order (Rutherford Source) The City of La Vergne is backing the executive order signed by Governor Bill Lee and asking all La Vergne businesses to do the same. “I want to ensure the health and welfare of our citizens and city staff,” says Mayor Jason Cole. “We fully support Governor Lee’s executive order and encourage everyone in La Vergne to follow the initiative to help stop the spread of COVID-19.” LINK

Yes, alcoholic drinks can be part of your take-out or delivery order (WTVF-TV) Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order 17 on Sunday, which, in part, required all restaurants to close dining rooms and use delivery instead. But it isn’t limited to food; alcoholic beverages can also be delivered. Many restaurants throughout the state had already made the move to “delivery only” operations. However, the governor issued an official order calling for Tennessee businesses to use alternative businesses models beginning March 23 until midnight April 6. LINK

Small businesses can apply for loans as result of virus (AP) Tennessee small businesses that have been economically harmed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak can apply for U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans, the state said. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans of up to $2 million. The funds are to be used for financial obligations and operating expenses. “Small businesses and nonprofits across the state are suffering greatly in the wake of this pandemic, and these loans will help overcome the temporary loss of revenue companies are experiencing during this difficult time,” Gov. Bill Lee said last week in a news release from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. LINK

No plan in place yet for Tennessee to cover coronavirus expenses for uninsured; Lee to seek Medicaid waiver from feds (Tennessean) As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases quickly rises in Tennessee, there’s no set plan in place for how the state will respond to uninsured patients who will inevitably need treatment for the highly contagious, sometimes fatal illness. Gov. Bill Lee said last week his office is in discussions with the federal government “about the opportunity to explore” using TennCare funds to pay for hospitalization and other treatment related to COVID-19 for Tennesseans who don’t have health insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid. LINK

Memphis hospitals say they will conserve supplies, locate critical gear in short supply (Commercial Appeal) Memphis hospital executives issued an extraordinary statement Sunday, saying the region’s four main health care systems are on high alert to secure needed supplies and handle the coronavirus outbreak. Baptist, Methodist, Regional One and Saint Francis officials together made public a statement that outlines goals and says: “Meeting this moment requires each hospital to take strong action to prepare.” LINK

COVID-19 cases rise to 517 in Tennessee (WTVF-TV) The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Tennessee has risen to 517. The state health department reported 167 cases in Davidson County. However, Mayor John Cooper reported 179 cases, making the total 517. Health officials have broken the cases down into their age ranges, with the most cases being reported in people 21-30 years old. LINK

Tennessee reports death of 2nd COVID-19 patient (WKRN-TV) A second resident of Tennessee has died from the novel coronavirus, according to a statement from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. That statement released Sunday afternoon by the hospital revealed the adult patient was a resident of an adjacent county who had underlying health conditions. No additional information was immediately released about the patient. LINK

505 cases of novel coronavirus confirmed in Tennessee; 2 deaths in Middle Tennessee (WZTV-TV) There are now 505 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Tennessee and Gov. Bill Lee has declared a state of emergency to help fight the virus. Vanderbilt University Medical Center has confirmed the second coronavirus related death of a patient in Tennessee. The hospital confirmed to FOX 17 News that it had its first patient die from COVID-19 on Saturday. The patient was a resident of an adjacent county who had underlying health complications. LINK

505 cases in Tennessee, business operations limited. (Tennessean) As of Sunday, there were 505 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tennessee, up from 371 listed Saturday. Health officials have reported two deaths related to the virus. The state reported Davidson County as having the highest number of cases at 167. Metro Nashville has reported the number of cases in Nashville has reached 179. LINK

On Sunday, Shelby County says 66 people in total in the county have COVID-19 infection (Commercial Appeal) Shelby County Health officials updated the virus report Sunday,  saying 66 Memphis and Shelby County residents were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in the state’s largest county to 58. Health officials have administered tests to some people in the county who show signs of infection by the virus. As testing increases, so does the number of infections reported. The number stood at 30 on Friday afternoon. LINK

University of Memphis instructor’s death possibly related to coronavirus (Commercial Appeal) University of Memphis instructor Lenard Wells died Saturday in Wisconsin, possibly due to complications of the novel coronavirus. He was 69. Wells, an instructor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice since 2013 and a retired lieutenant of the Milwaukee Police Department after 27 years, was “an insightful instructor, a researcher and a supportive colleague in the department,” department chairman KB Turner wrote in a letter alerting faculty. LINK

University of Memphis professor dies from COVID-19, medical examiner reports (WMC-TV) A University of Memphis professor has died from the coronavirus. NBC affiliate WTMJ says criminal justice instructor Lenard Wells died Saturday from complications of COVID-19, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office. The 69-year-old was also suffering from other underlying health conditions. Wells retired from the Milwaukee Police Department after 27 years of service as a Lieutenant of Police. LINK

University of Memphis professor dies from coronavirus (WREG-TV) A University of Memphis professor is dead after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner, in Wisconsin, confirms Dr. Lenard Wells died on Saturday. Wells was a professor in the school’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. LINK

University of Memphis instructor dies from COVID-19 complications, reports say (WHBQ-TV Fox 13 Memphis) The University of Memphis is mourning the loss of a criminal justice instructor. A UofM spokesperson said Dr. Lenard Wells died on Saturday, March 21. LINK

University of Memphis instructor dies in Wisconsin from COVID-19 Complications (WATN-TV Memphis) A medical examiner says Wells was travelling to Milwaukee from Memphis, TN, when he was hospitalized for several days, after reporting shortness of breath March 14. A University of Memphis instructor has died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after contracting COVID-19. According to ABC affiliate WISN 12 News, 69-year-old Lenard Wells of Mississippi died from complications after getting the virus. LINK

TEMA, FEMA suspend field operations for tornado victims in Tennessee amid COVID-19 outbreak (Tennessean) TEMA and FEMA, which have been helping three Tennessee counties after the deadly March 3 tornado, are reducing in-person activities because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams, Disaster Recovery Centers and Mobile Registration and Intake Center operations in Davidson, Putnam and Wilson counties are suspended as of 6 p.m. Sunday, according to FEMA. Tornado survivors can apply for federal assistance without going to a recovery center. The deadline to apply for disaster assistance is May 4. LINK

Tennessee doctors urging Gov. Lee to authorize shelter-in-place act (WMC-TV Memphis) More than 600 physicians have come together to sign a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee asking him to mandate a shelter-in-place. The group is requesting that Tennessee immediately declares the shelter-in-place act for fourteen days with only essential personnel to be deployed during this emergency. Health officials say this is the only way to get a handle on the coronavirus crisis. LINK

Tennessee doctors urge Lee to order residents to stay at home to confront COVID-19 (Tennessean) A group of Tennessee doctors urged Gov. Bill Lee Sunday afternoon to order Tennesseans to stay at home to fight the spread of COVID-19, a virus that has infected more than 500 people statewide, and to limit business operations to essential services. Their pleas to Lee came hours after he mandated restaurants and bars to limit their operations to delivery and take-out and told gyms to close. He also instructed residents to limit gatherings to 10 people, but he did not go as far as other governors who have called for non-essential businesses to close and for residents to stay home. LINK

Tennessee medical professionals, mayors advocate for statewide ‘shelter-in-place’ (WKRN-TV) Several mayors and county executives in Middle Tennessee are urging Governor Bill Lee to consider a recommendation by medical professionals for a statewide shelter-in-place. A letter submitted to the governor Friday, signed by multiple medical professionals and 600 “concerned” physicians, requested the state declare a shelter-in-place for 14 days, effective midnight Sunday, March 22, “with only essential personnel being deployed during this emergency.” LINK

Doctors Demand Statewide Stay-At-Home Order (WPLN Radio) More than 2,000 doctors and nurses have now signed a petition encouraging Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to follow the city of Nashville and order residents to stay in their homes. On Sunday, Lee did restrict bars and restaurants to only offering takeout. He also closed gyms. But he has not closed non-essential businesses. Several leaders of the petition organized a press conference online to explain their thinking. LINK

TN Doctors praise Cooper’s Order, Ask Governor to do same (WSMV-TV) Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s order is telling residents to stay inside their homes uneless it is absolutely urgent to leave for the next 14 days. More businesses will have to close unless designated an essential service. Doctors across from across Tennessee met online for a special conference Sunday to tell the public why it is so important to stay inside, but say the state could be doing more as a whole. LINK

Tenn. physicians respond to Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order 17 (WJHL-TV Johnson City) Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 Sunday, which calls for restaurants and bars to close all dining areas and resort to drive-thru, take out or delivery methods only, while at the same time enabling these establishments to sell take-out alcoholic beverages in closed containers. Tennessee physicians responded to the calls of action Sunday evening, agreeing that while these steps are necessary in preventing the spread of COVID-19, they aren’t enough. Dr. Aaron Millstone, a pulmonary and critical care physician, urges Gov. Lee to follow suit with orders Nashville Mayor John Cooper established Sunday morning. LINK

Five Williamson County mayors request state action on business restrictions (Tennessean) Five cities in Williamson County have requested state assistance in mandating restrictions for business operations and gatherings in Williamson County. In a March 20 letter, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson asked Gov. Bill Lee “to take the necessary actions to protect the citizens of Williamson County, Tennessee and its cities” from the spread of novel coronavirus, COVID-19. LINK

Metro directs residents to stay inside, stop non-essential business (Tennessean) The Metro Public Health Department instructed Nashville residents to stay inside and limit their actions outside their home to “what is absolutely necessary” to help curtail the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The health department’s “Safer at Home Order” closes all non-essential business operations in Nashville beginning Monday through the next 14 days. Residents are instructed not to go to work unless they are providing essential services. The order is legally enforceable, according to Metro’s website. LINK

Jackson mayor adds to Gov. Lee’s executive order closing more non-essential businesses over coronavirus (Jackson Sun) Our coronavirus coverage is free because we want to share this vital information with our community. To support our efforts, consider a digital subscription to the Jackson Sun. Jackson Mayor Scott Conger issued a declaration Sunday ordering several non-essential businesses to close. Conger’s actions follow Gov. Bill Lee’s declaration that all gyms, bars and restaurants close except for takeout or delivery starting at midnight Monday and running through April 6. LINK

Local state lawmaker respond to Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order (WJHL-TV Johnson City) Local state lawmakers are voicing their opinions on Governor Bill Lee signing Executive Order 17, which will be in full effect at midnight on Sunday. This comes as the number of people in the state of Tennessee and in the Tri-Cities affected by COVID-19 continue to rise. “I don’t know that anytime you negate rules about alcohol that it is a benefit,” said State Representative Bud Hulsey. LINK

Lieutenant Governor: State copes with 2 disasters (Daily Memphian) Lt. Gov. Randy McNally calls it the “black swan,” an unforeseen event capable of shaking Tennessee’s foundation, yet one the state must be prepared to handle — and on a worldwide scale with a military-like approach. “Unfortunately, this year we had two, the tornado and the COVID-19 virus,” McNally said as he discussed the frenzied days of 111th General Assembly when lawmakers expedited a $39.8 billion budget and vacated Nashville amid the coronavirus crisis. LINK

Capitol Notebook: The ‘black swan’ legislative session (Tennessean) As is the case when the legislature ends its session each year, Republican leaders held a joint news conference with Gov. Bill Lee to reflect on their work. Most years, legislative leaders used the gathering as an opportunity to deliver speeches touting what they view as their main accomplishments and fielding questions from reporters. LINK

Capitol notebook: Legislative employees get 2 weeks of paid leave (Tennessean) Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, legislative employees were told late last week they would be receiving two weeks of paid administrative leave. The move effectively barred employees from lawmakers’ Cordell Hull building as it undergoes a deep cleaning. “The Speakers are approving a two week paid administrative leave beginning, Monday, March 23, 2020 and continuing through Friday, April 3, 2020,” Connie Ridley, director of legislative administration, said in a March 19 email. “During this period we will continue to assess the impact of COVID 19.” LINK

Capitol Notebook: Durham’s campaign finance hearing delayed (Tennessean) State campaign finance officials’ plans to hear expelled former lawmaker Jeremy Durham’s appeal to reduce a record $465,000 penalty has been delayed. The case was scheduled to be heard in front of the Registry of Election Finance on March 27 inside lawmakers’ Cordell Hull building. But with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing has been delayed indefinitely. The delayed meeting comes after an administrative law judge said Durham should have been penalized only $110,000. The registry, however, disagrees with the judge’s assessment. LINK

Capitol Notebook: Grand Divisions (Tennessean) The Tennessean’s policy and politics podcast will continue to remain on hiatus. We will continue to share our latest coverage of state government and politics at Tennessean.com, as well as on Tennessean reporters’ Twitter accounts. LINK

U.S. Senate and Congressional primary races grow (Daily Memphian) A week and a half from the deadline to file qualifying petitions for a spot on the Aug. 6 ballot, more than three dozen possible contenders from across Tennessee have pulled petitions for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Lamar Alexander. Of those, 16 have actually filed ahead of the noon April 2 deadline. Eight of those who have filed are in the August Republican primary, four in the Democratic primary and four have filed as independents in the Nov. 3 general election. LINK

FedEx CEO says company’s business ramping up amid COVID-19 outbreak (WMC-TV) The nation’s top political and business leaders are very concerned over what the coronavirus will do to our economy. While there could be massive layoffs for some companies, Memphis-based FedEx says its business is ramping up. Time is running out. That’s the dire warning the CEOs of the nation’s airlines gave Congress this weekend. They urged lawmakers to pass payroll protection grants of at least $29 billion to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of airline workers. LINK

FedEx CEO Fred Smith explains how company is coping during COVID-19 pandemic (WATN-TV Memphis) Sunday, FedEx CEO Fred Smith made a national televised appearance during CBS’ “Face the Nation” to explain how his Memphis-based company is coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith stated that at this time FedEx is not expecting any layoffs and he doubts the company will need federal aid. LINK

OPINION

Victor Ashe: As mayors manage health crisis, budget announcements uncertain (News Sentinel) Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon’s budget message is scheduled to be delivered April 24, but the course of the coronavirus could derail that plan. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is set to deliver his budget address a week later on May 1 at Johnson University in South Knox County, but this health crisis could change that date, too. The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, on Friday, will name Randy Boyd president of UT for five years, to 2025. Boyd is an outstanding choice who has broad support across Tennessee. LINK

Guest column: Now is the time for governing bodies to quickly implement technology to provide the public better meeting access (Times Free Press) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order on Friday that gave much-needed relief and guidance on how governing bodies may conduct meetings electronically in light of a need to contain the spread of coronavirus. The order contained key provisions TCOG sought, including that governing bodies be allowed to conduct “essential business,” make reasonable efforts to provide live electronic access to the public and provide the public with better notice of the meeting agenda and how the public can access the meeting. LINK

Georgiana Vines: Rep. Martin Daniel will not seek re-election (News Sentinel) State Rep. Martin Daniel, a Republican who represents a West Knoxville district in the state House of Representatives, has announced he will not seek re-election at a time when he is going through a divorce with wife, Melissa. He said in a phone interview Thursday that the pending divorce was a factor in the decision “a little bit.” LINK

Guest column: Legislators should show they value Tennessee workers by increasing minimum wage (News Sentinel) Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennessee’s legislature has recessed for an unknown period without acting on an urgent need in our state. Tennessee workers deserve an increase in the minimum wage. Simply put, we should reward work with a living wage. Our legislators let us down and can’t even offer credible reasons for doing so. Shemora Rogers, left, and about 30 other fast food workers rallied in front of the McDonald’s on Chapman Highway Thursday, April 14, 2016, chanting and calling for a $15 minimum wage. LINK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s