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Tennesseans now required to stay home

Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 9:52 am

By David Knox

Just days after issuing a safer at home order, Gov. Bill Lee announced a stay at home order.

Lee signed Executive Order 23 last Thursday, calling on residents to stay home conducting essential activity “as data shows an increase in citizen movement across the state.”

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen decreases in movement around the state as Tennesseans socially distance and stay at home,” said Lee. “However, in recent days we have seen data indicating that movement may be increasing and we must get these numbers trending back down.”

Metro Lynchburg Moore County Mayor Bonnie Lewis said there really is merely one change from Executive Order 22 and 23.

“It replaces one paragraph,” Lewis said, “and it replaces one word, from ‘urged’ to ‘required.’” Only essential employees or essential services are excepted. She directed citizens to go to the metro website where the full list of essential services is listed. “The point of all of this is, our governor – and I support his decision – does not want us to go into what so many people call a ‘lock-down state.’”

By taking these measures now, the hope is the governor won’t have to take an even more drastic measure. She said while it’s a time to take all precautions, it is not a time for fear and urged citizens to stay in touch with their friends and family by phone.

Lee said a company tracked cellphone data which appeared to show that traffic and movement was going towards an upward trend. The governor said the data was part of the decision to issue the stay at home order.

Lee told media that the state has given local law enforcement guidance on enforcing the order.

Sheriff Tyler Hatfield said, “From the enforcement standpoint, the sheriff’s office will take this order very seriously. It is our plan the majority of the time, especially in the beginning, to educate the public as much as possible. This is not a revenue-generating order. This is not about increasing the size of the population in our jails. This is about keeping Tennesseans and the citizens of Moore County safe.”

Hatfield said deputies will be out and watchful of anyone who is disobeying the order. “Citations and arrests, they are possible, but again we are going to educate as much as possible.”

Lee said the worst is yet to come.

“The month of April stands to be an extremely tough time for our state as we face the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Lee. “Every Tennessean must take this seriously, remain at home and ensure we save lives.”

The executive order remains in effect until Tuesday, April 14, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.