Governor Lee Issues Executive Order Requiring Residents to Stay Home

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Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 23 on Thursday that requires Tennesseans to stay home unless they are engaging in essential activities. (emphasis added)

Lee issued an executive order Monday that urged, but didn’t require, residents to stay at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Under his new order, staying at home isn’t “an option – it’s a requirement for the swift defeat of COVID-19,” said Lee.

The governor said data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation indicated that travel started trending upwards again on March 30 after traffic patterns showed a steep drop-off in vehicle movement between March 13 and 29.

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen decreases in movement around the state as Tennesseans socially distance and stay at home,” Lee said in a statement released Thursday.

“However, in recent days we have seen data indicating that movement may be increasing and we must get these numbers trending back down. I have updated my previous executive order to clearly require that Tennesseans stay at home unless they are carrying out essential activities,” he continued.

He said cell-phone data from Unacast also showed that movement of Tennesseans was trending toward pre-COVID-19 levels.

“The month of April stands to be an extremely tough time for our state as we face the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Lee. “Every Tennessean must take this seriously, remain at home and ensure we save lives.”

The modified executive order will remain in effect through April 14, Lee’s office said.

The announcement comes after doctors across the state continued to criticize Lee for his handling of the pandemic and demanded he issue a stay-at-home order.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) said in a statement released Thursday that he appreciates the governor’s “ability to adapt to this fluid situation.”

“As the peak of the COVID crisis approaches, it is more important than ever that we flatten the curve and prevent a run on needed resources. Gov. Lee has consistently been committed to a data-focused approach and he has proven it again today,” he said.

“The numbers don’t lie and it is clear at this moment a stronger mandate is needed. He is doing everything in his power to both save lives and minimize economic disruption. I applaud his efforts. I support this order. And I implore all Tennesseans to stay at home and stay apart.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Tennessee had 2,845 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 263 hospitalizations, and 32 deaths, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) said in a statement that he fully supports the governor’s decision.

“We have been, and we will remain flexible as we continue to receive additional data and input from medical experts as we fight to reduce the projected strain on our health care system, and keep our citizens, their families and communities across this state safe,” he said. “A healthy economy starts with having healthy Tennesseans.”

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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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14 Thoughts to “Governor Lee Issues Executive Order Requiring Residents to Stay Home”

  1. Elizabeth Poe

    Another major disappointing governor on the long list of failed Tennessee governors. Why don’t people with a real love for our state and country run for office. We get stuck with choosing between the lesser of two evils. Too many Haslam holdovers. Tennesseans getting their rights infringed upon again while power mongering leaders just get thrive on their new found influence. The deception and lies while businesses get hurt. Another short term decision with long term consequences.

  2. The Tater

    Ok ok, you caught the Tater. I snuck out to get a haircut.

  3. Ron Welch

    The Governor, ALL elected officials and agents take an oath to OBEY the Tennessee Constitution especially the Declaration of Rights which begin as follows in Article I:

    Section 1. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of those ends they have at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.
    Section 2. That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

  4. Michael Rupeka

    The governor is acting power hungry. I am disgusted to know our cell phones are being tracked. It does not add up to put people out of work and lock them in their homes over 32 deaths since Jan 21 2020. The average daily death rate in TN is about 195. Something is not adding up here. What is really going on? I consider Bill Lee a 1 term governor.

  5. Bill tells Tennessee that we don’t need to be eating takeouts.

    Here is thought, if he wants us to stay home, then Tennesseans should boycott all take out order, quit shopping, and really bring the State to a economic crisis, then the little dictator (Bill Lee) might thinks twice about Monitoring our movement and pad locking us into our homes.

  6. Pissed Off Nashvillian

    That’s scary. Since when did the citizens of TN give the state permission to track us through our personal phones?

  7. 83ragtop50

    What next? National Guard on the street with full battle gear? This is outrageous.

    1. Ron Welch

      Martial law is forbidden in Tennessee according to Article I, Section 25 of the Tennessee Constitution Declaration of Rights which is the highest law of our State.

  8. Trixie Belden

    “The numbers don’t lie” but they can certainly be manipulated by liars. And the data the decision-makers are relying on has proven to be faulty — the IMHE models predicted over 2200 hospitalizations for TN by now, and we have literally 1/10th of that number.

    Now we’re being tracked by cellphone data to see if we’re complying with orders, just lovely. Maybe the governor figures there will be no political repercussions, after all, everybody else is doing it and the federal government will bail us out, right? And of course, it’s for our own good.

    Please politicians, no decision will be perfect. I’d rather see us err on the side of freedom and personal liberty. Cameron Sexton’s statement should read “A healthy economy starts with having FREE Tennesseans.”

  9. Mary

    Tracking us using our cell phones? Huh. Free no longer.

  10. Kevin

    I don’t disagree that “shelter in place” strategies are part of a logical response to a highly contagious disease. I also understand the potential negative imagery that comes from “not doing enough” to save lives. But, some of the reasons and rational for certain responses are ridiculous, potentially more damaging than the actual disease and purely “feel good”! Like, what exactly are “essential activities”?

    Also, aside from the fear that the “police state” monitoring connotation should evoke, I’m not sure what else the TDOT graph shows. We don’t know what the baseline of “essential” activities looks like. We don’t know what the baseline of interstate traffic looks like.

    Are all groceries and “essential” products and materials consumed by Tennesseans indigenous to Tennessee? And don’t they have to move along the highways to get to Tennesseans? Also, don’t most people do essential work? If not, why do it in the first place, or more importantly, why would anybody pay for it!

    Maybe if we all just wore masks to keep our “bugs” at “home” and away from everybody else, and washed our hands as directed, we could stop this pandemic without squandering our freedoms, our economy and our way of life.

  11. Ron Welch

    “A healthy economy starts with having healthy Tennesseans.” –Cameron Sexton, House Speaker

    Taking precautions to avoid infection is always good, but there is otherwise NOTHING about enhancing health or strengthening one’s immune system with nutritional and getting in sunshine for Vitamin D in is this order. Furthermore, there is virtually NOTHING from officialdom or in the mainstream media to encourage health enhancement. Why this glaring omission?

  12. Bill you are not a Dictator

    Thanks to Bill Lee, George Orwell’s 1984 is alive and well. Using our cell phones to track our movement is a violation of our Civil Liberties. We should lock our phone to avoid tracking. The Governor is make the assumption that more travel means more cases of Covid-19. There ho proof of that. It could mean the abortion rate is on the rise after all over 12,000 babies were killed in Tennessee last year or it could mean that warm weather is on the way and people are getting in their enclosed vehicles just to get away from four wall of the house, or after two weeks they need to restock. After all being in your vehicle is the ultimate form of social distancing move away from people at a rate of 35 to 60 mph. I urge citizen to refer to their cellphone manual to disable the tracking feature. Bill lee your are not a dictator, Tennessee is part of America and America is not a socialist or Marxist county. We should flood the Governor Office and ask him how many Government Employees have been furloughed, after all there are departments in Tennessee that are non-essential in this pandemic such as Tourism.

  13. Ralph

    The opinion of an internationally renowned microbiologist specializing in infectious disease outweighs idle speculation borne of fear mongering:

    The results of an actual study and statistical analysis of the data indicates that COVID-19 is likely no more infectious, nor any more deadly, than any of the myriad other viruses circulating:

    Here is a link to the CDC’s webpage that lists the current estimates for this season’s influenza toll in the USA:

    By comparison, here are the CDC estimates for the COVID-19 toll:

    36,000,000 to 54,000,000 flu illnesses since October 2019, vs. 186,101 COVID-19 illnesses – less than 1% – 0.5% to 0.3% – you are 200 to 300 times more likely to contract the flu versus COVID-19 – and this is a year with slightly less than normal levels of flu illnesses.

    24,000 to 64,000 flu deaths since October 2019, vs. 3603 COVID-19 deaths – 15% to 5.6% – 7 to 18 times more people die from infection by the common flu than COVID-19.

    So, who are these unnamed doctors advisisng the good governor. Those who refuse to go on record for perpetuating wholesale scientific fraud? No names huh? I thought so. And where are their supporting data and peer-reviewed analyses? None of those either? No surprise there.

    Gov. Lee and his minions have just guaranteed one of the biggest electoral routs for the Republican party in Tennessee history.