Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Tennessee, US, extend movement and business restrictions thorough at least April 30 due to coronavirus activity.

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 13 Apr 2020 22:27 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 08:00 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Tennessee (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

Summary
Tennessee Governor William Lee extended his office's existing executive orders mandating that residents stay at home unless performing essential tasks and businesses remain closed unless providing essential goods and services through April 30. The orders are part of the state's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Pursuant to the orders, residents must remain at their homes unless performing essential tasks, including 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.

The order to close nonessential businesses likewise remains in place until at least April 30. Among the essential businesses allowed to continue operating are grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare facilities, fuel stations, and banks, as well as organizations operating in the fields of the media, security, energy, transport, and critical infrastructure. Restaurants may operate on a pick-up or delivery basis only; seated dining in restaurants is prohibited. Nonessential businesses may continue operating but only with their employees working from home, and all businesses are directed to allow employees to work from home when feasible. Essential government services will also continue to be provided.

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): who.int

State of Tennessee COVID-19 Updates: tn.gov

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

Nashville COVID-19 Updates: asafenashville.org