A Message From THA
TN Press Conferences - Daily Recap

Friday (04/24/2020) - Press Conference

Governor Lee outlines a
phased approach to re-opening TN.

  • Today's press conference was significant. Gov. Bill Lee announced state guidance and best practices for re-opening Tennessee businesses, in 89 of the state’s 95 counties.

  • More specifically, the Governor unveiled The Tennessee Pledge!. These guidelines are intended to keep employees and customers safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The first industries to receive this guidance include restaurants (opening Monday) and retail industries (opening Wednesday).

  • Guidance for gyms, churches, and physician practices will be announced next week.

  • The reopening of close contact services, such as salons and tattoo shops, will continue to be on hold for several more weeks.

  • Businesses are asked/urged to continue to allow employees to work from home, when possible, and individuals should wear protective masks when going out in public.

  • Tennessee is strongly urging that visitors refrain from recreational travel across the state, as state officials begin to implement this staged re-opening (we are not open for tourism).

  • Governor Lee stated, “Tennesseans pulled together to flatten the curve, and it is time for people to begin to get back to work and back to their businesses. We are pursuing a careful, measured approach to reopening our economy that does not depend on heavy-handed mandates, but instead provides practical tools for businesses of all sizes.”

Thursday (04/23/2020) Press Conference - Governor Lee outlined the following updates:
  • Not every industry will be in a position to open safely immediately. Governor Lee will hold a special briefing on Friday morning to debut the first round of industry guidance for the restaurant and retail industry. Restaurants operating at 50% capacity and following additional guidelines, will be allowed to open on Monday. Retail outlets operating at 50% capacity and following guidelines provided by the state, will be allowed to open next Wednesday. More details will be provided during Friday morning’s briefing.

  • Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development, Commissioner Jeff McCord
  • The state has paid 225,000 individual benefits, including the $600 payment from the federal government. They will make additional payments early next week and all throughout next week.
  • The Department has upgraded their system and will upgrade again to handle increased volume. They have also hired additional employees to handle customer service claims.

  • Dept. of Education, Commissioner Penny Schwinn
  • The Department of Education has issued new guidance to superintendents across the state, to assist them in making the decisions of whether and/or how ... to conduct virtual or in-person commencement ceremonies, over the following months. The guidance is also posted on the department’s website.
  • This afternoon, the U.S. Department of Education released the CARES Act funding application for schools and districts, sooner than anticipated. They will work with districts to ensure the one-time funds are wisely invested to support recovery, and to plan for related impacts in the next school year.
  • Members of the Child Wellbeing Task Force will be announced during the first week of May. The task force will develop a set of action items which can be utilized over the next three months to address areas including: nutrition, health, employee wellness, return to school, and physical, emotional, and social well being.

  • Dept of Environment and Conservation, Commissioner David W. Salyers
  • Most state parks will reopen Friday at 7 AM. There are guidelines to be mindful of: visit parks near you, continue to social distance, stay home if you are sick, visit early, bring a mask to wear, bring your own snacks, and prepare for restroom facilities to be limited.    

Wednesday (04/22/2020) Press Conference - Governor Lee outlined the following updates:
  • Discussion surrounded data the state is looking at, to make informed decisions on how and when to reopen the economy. Federal guidance has largely influenced the state’s path moving forward. They are looking at data on symptoms, cases, and hospitalizations. The number of patients with symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu have steadily declined within the vast majority of TN hospitals. Tennessee has also seen a steady decline in cases over the past 19 days. As of this day, of the 7,842 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, only 775 have required hospitalization. The state has kept a close watch on hospital capacity and will continue to do so. Federal guidelines also call for an emerging capability to conduct antibody testing. Antibody testing will begin in the coming weeks, as the tests become more widely available. 

  • In addition to the federal guidelines, Tennessee is tracking other data points to assist in making decisions about reopening the economy. The state will continue aggressive testing measures. Tennessee is currently ranked 12th for total tests administered, and 15th for tests per 100,000 people. They will also continue watching how the virus moves across state. In particular, they will monitor the average day-over-day increase in growth rate.
  • Additionally, the COVID-19 Unified-Command Group released new data on COVID-19 outbreaks in the state’s long-term care facilities, and outlined an action plan on how to prevent future cases and mitigate existing clusters within these facilities. The group’s full report can be found here

Tuesday (04/21/2020) Press Conference - Governor Lee outlined the following updates:
  • A $10 million grant program was announced earlier this month to help small hospitals who are struggling, as elective procedures have been postponed. On Monday, the state made the first grant distributions to four rural hospitals.

  • Funds from the CARES Act began flowing to Tennessee last week. Tennessee expects to receive $2.3 billion with additional funding going directly to Nashville and Memphis through the federal government. The first meeting of the Governor’s newly established Economic Recovery Group will happen virtually, on Wednesday. The group will discuss major spending priorities and will conduct a review of the federal expectations for the funds. 

Monday (04/20/2020) Press Conference - Governor Lee - A nnouncements .
  • Governor Lee announced he will not extend the Safer at Home order past April 30th. The vast majority of businesses in 89 counties will be allowed to reopen by May 1st. The businesses will open according to specific guidelines the state will provide. This applies to 89 counties as those are the counties where the state operates health departments. Each of these counties will be covered under the state’s forthcoming guidance. Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan Counties all run their own health departments. The state will work with these counties and their health departments, as they develop their own plans to reopen. 

TN Executive Orders and News Briefings

Here is a link to TN Governor Lee’s web page for our state specific Executive Orders, relating to COVID-19.

conducted by Governor Lee.

HERE is a link to view the TN Department of Health's
statistical pandemic data/reporting.
Resources For Businesses Amid COVID-19