Gov. Lee orders closure of 'non-essential' businesses

Gov. Bill Lee has ordered all non-essential businesses across the state to close their doors for two weeks amid COVID-19 concerns.

The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and lasts through April 14, during which time only essential businesses are to continue operating and residents are to stay home "as much as possible," per Executive Order 22, which was filed Monday with the Tennessee Secretary of State's office.

At his Monday briefing on the status of coronavirus in Tennessee, the governor took a step many doctors, nurses and other health professionals have been requesting for weeks: keeping people at home unless absolutely necessary.

Executive Order #22 restricts that businesses which “cannot possibly safely operate” including, barbershops and salons, will no longer be allowed to operate for the time being, according to Lee.

Lee said it was not a mandated shelter-in-place order, but rather a “strong urging for Tennesseans to stay home when at all possible.”

Lee said he felt mandatory shelter-in-place orders infringed on personal liberties, although “with personal liberty comes personal responsibility.”

He repeated requests for all people who did not need to be out to stay at home in order to protect essential employees such as doctors, nurses, surgeons and other healthcare workers.

“We need you to stay home if at all possible,” Lee said.

Executive Order 22

They include:

•        Health care and public health operations

•        Human services operations

•        Food and medicine stores

•        Food and beverage production agriculture

•        Organizations that provide charitable and social services

•        Media

•        Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation

•        Financial institutions and insurance entities

•        Hardware and supply stores

•        Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pickup services

•        Restaurants for off-premises consumption

•        Hotels and motels

•        Funeral services and many more

To read the full executive order, click here: