Opening the state

Governor will not extend Safer at Home Order; some businesses could re-open as early as next week

On Monday Gov. Bill Lee announced that the order for Tennesseans to remain at home will expire April 30, with the vast majority of businesses in 89 counties allowed to re-open by May 1.

“Our Economic Recovery Group is working with industry leaders around the clock so that some businesses can open as soon as Monday, April 27,” said Lee in a news release. “These businesses will open according to specific guidance that we will provide in accordance with state and national experts in both medicine and business.”

The Lee administration will work with Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties and their health departments as they plan their own strategies.

“While I am not extending the Safer at Home order past the end of April, we are working directly with our major metropolitan areas to ensure they are in a position to reopen as soon and safely as possible,” said Lee.

“Social distancing works, and as we open up our economy it will be more important than ever that we keep social distancing, as lives and livelihoods depend on it.”

That “rebooting” of the state comes with a caveat: “Social distancing is going to be preached until we get a vaccine, and that’s another year, year-and-a-half,” Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said.

Burton said there will be “non-essential” businesses opening back up, but it’s a numbers game.

“If you go to a park, or to a restaurant and you see people lined up out the door, go home, come back later,” he said.

“And please support your local stores. They’re hurting right now and we need to support them so they’ll stick around and continue to grow.”

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said Tennesseans have done a good job at flattening the curve and they need to keep following those guidelines.

But, she added, “People are starting to hurt now. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck.”

Frank said when the pandemic first started she was being advised, “We need to do this, we need to close this …

“I foresee we move out of this … we phase out as we phased in. Hopefully we’ll be smart about this, stay smart as a community, and hopefully get back to work,” she said.

Frank and Burton were interviewed last Saturday for a podcast on The Courier News Facebook page.

Frank’s interview is available to listen to now. Burton’s will be available later this week.

Also interviewed for the podcasts was Anderson County Commission Chairman Tracy Wandell, whose comments will also be available to listen to later this week.