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Open for business?

Posted on Friday, April 17, 2020 at 10:22 am

Governor is OK with non-essential businesses finding alternative ways of staying open

Gov. Bill Lee

Gov. Bill Lee still has his stay at home order in place, but he is in favor of non-essential businesses – which he ordered closed April 2 – finding ways to serve customers and clients, if they can find an alternative way to deliver their goods.

“When a business can adapt their business model, we are happy for them to stay open, we want them to stay open,” Lee said last week on a conference call with journalists.

Lee said as long as social distancing is employed and safe and healthy methods of delivery can be accomplished, he has not problem with non-essential businesses operating. He said the intent of the order was not to close down or regulate business.

“I think the intent is that we employ practices that ensures social distancing,” Lee said. “The goal is not to open or close or regulate a business for any purpose other than to create a safe environment for Tennesseans and that safe environment is social distancing. To the degree that a business can comply with the order and comply with social distancing then that’s the intent.

“We care very much about our small business owners. This has been incredibly difficult for them.”

He reiterated how hard it was for him to make the decision to close non-essential businesses in the first place, due to the hardship it places on so many Tennesseans.

“We want them to continue to provide for their families and their employees’ families as long as they can do that in a safe way,” he said.