Governor Bill Lee Orders Bars And Restaurants to Close


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive action Sunday ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” 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.”

Under Executive Order 17, social gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited and all bars, restaurants, and other “similar food or drink establishments” must close. Drive-through, pickup, carry-out, and delivery services are still allowed under Lee’s order.

Additionally, the governor has temporarily lifted some of the state’s regulations surrounding alcohol to allow bars and restaurants to “sell for take-out or delivery alcoholic beverages or beer.”

Lee ordered gyms and fitness centers to close as well, encouraging residents to “use any available electronic or virtual fitness options to support such businesses during this emergency.”

“Persons in the state of Tennessee shall not visit nursing homes, retirement homes, or long-term care or assisted-living facilities, unless to provide essential assistance or to visit residents receiving imminent end-of-life care, provided such visits may be accomplished without unreasonable risk to other residents,” states the order.

The executive order is not a shelter-in-place order and does not prohibit “persons from visiting places necessary to maintain health and economic well-being, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks.”

“I urge every Tennessean to take these actions seriously – our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19,” said Lee.

The executive order takes effect Monday and will remain in effect through April 6.

As of Sunday afternoon, Tennessee had a total of 371 confirmed COVID-19 cases and had tested 694 individuals for the virus, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Between Friday and Saturday, the state saw its confirmed caseload increase by 143.

A 73-year-old man with underlying health conditions was the state’s first resident to die from complications from the virus, Nashville health officials announced Friday evening.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







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2 Thoughts to “Governor Bill Lee Orders Bars And Restaurants to Close”

  1. 83ragtop50

    What’s next, governor Lee? Are you going to tell me where I have to buy groceries? This is a stupid and unnecessary infringement on citizens’ rights. Is this guy really a Democrat?

  2. Kevin

    How come, in order to allow citizens to exercise their God-given, Constitutionally-protected rights to protect themselves by carrying a gun, the 132 members of the State General Assembly have to ruminate and machinate for weeks, only to let the measure die. Yet with the stroke of a pen, one government official can unilaterally take away our 1st Amendment rights to assemble!

    And how exactly are seven, eight or nine person gatherings any less of a concern than 10 person gatherings? Or is this just a way for us to all more closely follow how China, created, and then supposedly controlled, this crisis? Although I do see a potential business opportunity, nine person (or less) speak-easy’s!

    As Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”