Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is calling on citizens to get the state back on track and avoid regression both economically and physically as COVID-19 cases continue to spike.
Governor Lee asked Tennesseans to wear masks every day and continue social distancing because of a rise in positive cases which have him very concerned. “We are seeing a lot of Tennesseans take unnecessary risks,” said Lee.
Governor Lee added the idea of making masks mandatory is being considered, though he expects to work on a resolution with leaders who have requested guidance on the potential instead of a statewide mandate.
“Don’t put our state two steps backward by refusing to wear a mask or refusing to social distance or refusing to pay attention to something as simple as washing your hands,” Governor Lee said.
Orders mandating masks in public have already been issued in Memphis and Nashville. According to a recent opinion by the Tennessee State Attorney General and Tennessee laws, health departments of individual municipalities or counties can issue a mandate and supersede less stringent or conflicting ordinances if in the best interest of public health. A new mask mandate called the “COVID-19 Face Covering Regulation” has was approved by the Knox County Board of Health that will go into effect for indoor public places tomorrow (Friday, July 3, 2020).
Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said the growth in coronavirus infections is hitting both urban and rural areas.
“Please listen carefully: This is not the time to get back to normal,” Piercey said. “We’re all experiencing what we call quarantine fatigue. But I can guarantee you this virus is not getting tired.”
Tennessee reported its highest daily case count yesterday with 1,806 reported cases of COVID-19. There have now been 609 deaths among the 43,315 total cases since the pandemic started. These numbers are from the Tennessee Department of Health.
The state is taking precautionary measures now to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 and not go back to a stay at home order or shelter in place. The stay at home order was issued previously and saw unemployment skyrocket and businesses sustain significant financial loss.