Governor Bill Lee Extends Stay-at-Home Order, Announces Plans to Reopen Tennessee’s Economy Soon


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order through April 30, but he also said government and private-sector officials are working to reopen the state’s economy in May.

Lee said this at a televised press conference, adding “we are not out of the woods yet, and it could be some time [before we are].”

“Until a vaccine or a therapy is widely available to Tennesseans, this virus will be a present reality to us to manage and consider whenever we are making decisions,” Lee said.

“However, it is clear that our economy cannot stay shut down for months on end. So we are left with a clear but complicated task. We have to reimagine how to conduct business in a society so that we can operate our economy safely while continuing to suppress the spread of COVID-19. We need Tennesseans to go back to work. But we also need everyone to recognize that physical distancing must continue for the foreseeable future.”

Between now and May, members of the state’s Unified Command Team will continue to consult with experts, analyze all available COVID-19 data, and monitor federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, Lee said.

Lee went on to say that last month he started working with leaders of industry to understand how this pandemic would impact the state’s businesses. These leaders include members of the state’s hospitality, transportation, and grocery industries, among others, to monitor Tennessee’s economy.

“While these early efforts have helped us to stay informed, it’s time to move to a planning and an implementation phase,” Lee said.

“I am formalizing an Economic Recovery Group to be led by Tourism Commissioner Mark Ezell that will work in coordination with legislative leadership, local mayors, health care professionals, and representatives of impacted industries.”

In a statement, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) said in a statement that the state’s COVID-19 numbers are improving and the curve is flattening.

“This is exactly why an extension is needed. As we begin to prepare for a new normal, we must be certain the peak is behind us,” McNally said.

“Only then can we safely ensure the health of both our people and our economy. We must beat back both the virus and the economic disruption it has created.”

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), meanwhile, said Lee’s decision aligns with President Donald Trump’s targeted approach for reopening parts of our national economy as soon as possible.

“While we all want a healthy economy, that can only happen if we have healthy Tennesseans,” Sexton said.

“We will continue to work together to achieve a swift and successful economic reopening, while also preserving the public’s health.”

Lee said Monday that the state’s unemployment claims are 25 times their normal rate with more than 250,000 initial claims in the past three weeks.

Watch the full press briefing:


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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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13 Thoughts to “Governor Bill Lee Extends Stay-at-Home Order, Announces Plans to Reopen Tennessee’s Economy Soon”

  1. […] Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order through April 30, but he also said government and private-sector officials are working to reopen the state’s economy in May, The Tennessee Star reported. […]

    1. Maddie Thomas

      Ane this after the state has been hit hard by tornados. Get real Governor Lee.

  2. […] The governor’s original Stay-At-Home Executive Order No. 27 was scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, but was extended Monday by more than two weeks to April 30, The Tennessee Star reported. […]

  3. Gary

    What’s next, one term Bill, you’ll want a state income tax to help pay for the deficits you’ve created with your mandated state shutdown? A State income tax?
    Honk! Honk! Bye Bye Billy boy

  4. 83ragtop50

    I may get thrown into jail but I sure as heck plan to get out and live my life without his permission. Sure hope he gets a decent opponent in the next election. He has proven himself incapable of leading in a conservative manner. He seems to believe like the left that the government should control everything because it makes him feel good.

  5. John J.

    Ouch! This is gonna leave a scar!

    Hey Governor Lee, might be time to start counting toes, after this latest faux pax! But this is what happens when good men surround themselves with “political hacks”.

  6. Mike

    We will not be held hostage Governor. How about you exhibiting some leadership, take the initiative to be a leader among followers, and lead Tennesseans out of government’s overly oppressive quarantine bondage. You must lead or we will rebel. We will survive only as free citizens.

  7. Mike Johnson

    Have you done your own research Governor Lee? Or are you merely cow-towing to the mainstream ‘medical experts’ and politicians? Time is running out to truly lead out of this mess using real information and not fabrications. The deaths compared to typical flu, even as they label most everyone in a hospital as having COVID19, are not there!

  8. There are far more deaths in TN from the flu and other diseases but we cannot shut the country down to assure that death doesn’t strike these people. False narratives from the press are intimidating politicians who are afraid of the media.

  9. Michael

    This is absolute nonsense! The problem is the people making the decisions are not losing a penny of income. What hardships are you facing governor? Being locked down on Easter was despicable. This extension is ridiculous. Where is your compassion. You are not a leader just power hungry.

  10. Trixie Belden

    I could just swear right now. Talking like a vaccine is our only hope of survival. The HCQ/zpack has been proven to work wherever it has been used. Being held hostage in our homes is not the answer. Common sense, protect the vulnerable, fine, but locking us all down? Now whenever there is a perceived “public health risk” we have to go through this? Government is supposed to be by the consent of the governed. We’re losing ground bigtime here.

    1. Ron Welch

      “Talking like a vaccine is our only hope of survival.”
      Yes! And they are also talking about making such a vaccine MANDATORY for which you would need a certificate or documentation to go into public, have a job, etc. It’s all about money for Big Pharma and, much worse, a fascist control system.

      There is NEVER any talk from officialdom, the media or any of the supposed health experts re: strengthening our immune systems through nutrition. They SAY, that “healthcare is a right”, and I agree, which means that we do it for ourselves and that it is something that cannot be mandated since we are “secure in our persons” according to the 4th Amendment.

  11. Mark

    Damn spineless POS!