Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Tennessee, US, to lift some business restrictions in 89 counties starting April 27. Stay-at-home order in place until April 30.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee
  • Jackson, Tennessee
  • Clarksville, Tennessee

This alert began 24 Apr 2020 18:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Tennessee (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

Summary
Tennessee Governor William Lee plans to lift some restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), allowing certain businesses to reopen in 89 of the state's 95 counties. Starting April 27, restaurants statewide, except in Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan counties, will be allowed to operate, provided they comply with certain special requirements. Dining facilities must operate at no more than half their seating capacity; employees must wear protective face masks and gloves, and establishments must implement a number of other sanitation and social distancing protocols. Starting April 29, retail stores will also be allowed to open in all but Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan counties, subject to their compliance with similar capacity, sanitation, and protective gear protocols. In-person operations at all other nonessential businesses will remain suspended until further notice.

Tennessee's stay-at-home order will remain in effect until April 30, with authorities expecting it not to be extended. Under this order, residents must remain at their homes unless performing essential tasks, such as attending to a health issue, obtaining basic goods, caring for a person in need, engaging in essential travel, or performing outdoor recreational activities. Individuals must also adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times and avoid all gatherings of 10 people or more.

Authorities in Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan counties will implement their own plans to lift or extend their local restrictions starting May 1.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely statewide. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the remaining restrictions. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): who.int

State of Tennessee COVID-19 Updates: tn.gov

State of Tennessee - Executive Orders: sos.tn.gov

State of Tennessee - Reopening Tennessee Responsibly - https://www.tn.gov/