Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Tennessee, US, order residents to stay at home, maintain order to close nonessential businesses, until at least April 14.

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 03 Apr 2020 10:24 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Tennessee (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 14
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant business disruptions

Summary
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee amended an executive order to require residents to stay at home unless performing essential tasks, through at least April 14, as part of the state's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The governor had previously urged residents to stay at home, but it was changed to a requirement April 2. The order mandates residents to remain at home unless performing essential tasks, including attending a health issue, obtaining basic goods, caring for a person in need, engaging in essential travel, or performing outdoor recreational activities. At all times residents must maintain a proper distance from others and avoid all gatherings. The order to close nonessential businesses remains in place until at least April 14, and it stipulates that among the essential businesses and services allowed to continue operating are grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare facilities, fuel stations, banks, media organizations, as well as those related to security, energy, transport, and critical infrastructure. Essential government services will also continue to be provided. Nonessential businesses may continue operating but only with their employees working from home.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely statewide. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks. Officials in other cities, or in the overall state of Tennessee, may order similar restrictions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Tennessee are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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): www.who.int

State of Tennessee COVID-19 Updates: www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

Government of Tennessee - Stay at Home Order: publications.tnsosfiles.com/pub/execorders/exec-orders-lee23.pdf

Nashville COVID-19 Updates: www.asafenashville.org/