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COVID-19 Bulletin #27 - April 28, 2020

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | 05:43pm

Today, Governor Bill Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts regarding COVID-19. Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed live Monday through Thursday at 3 p.m. CDT here. Visit tn.gov/covid19 for up-to-date administrative actions.

Key Updates

Executive Order 30

Executive Order 30 supersedes and repeals Executive Order Nos. 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, and 29, effective Wednesday, April 29, but does not affect Executive Order No. 25 concerning dental and medical procedures, which is currently effective until April 30.

  • The order allows Tennesseans and businesses to return to work in all industries where that can be safely accomplished by following health guidelines, while urging employers to allow or require remote work/telework if possible.
  • Tennesseans are urged to continue limiting activity and staying home as much as possible to preserve and build on the health progress we’ve made.
  • All employers and businesses that choose to open are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group (ERG) Guidelines for operating safely, as well as general health guidelines from the CDC and other government entities.
  • Social and recreational gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited, including but not limited to festivals, fairs, parades, youth and adult sporting events, and overnight summer youth camps.
  • This does not cover places of worship, for which there will be guidelines for safe operation of worship services and gatherings if in-person services are conducted, but the order strongly encourages places of worship to continue virtual or online services where possible.
  • This does not prohibit weddings and funerals, but encourages postponement of large-gathering components of such events.
  • Entertainment and recreational gathering venues must remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to, bars, night clubs, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, concert and sporting event venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas, adult entertainment venues, amusement parks, senior centers, and skating rinks.
  • Limited service restaurants can serve food to customers seated at tables but must follow the ERG Guidelines for restaurants in doing so.
  • Close-contact personal service businesses must remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to, barber shops, salons, spas, body-art/tattoo services, tanning salons, and massage facilities.
  • Nursing homes and similar retirement and long-term-care facilities must remain closed to visitors, except for critical assistance and in end-of-life situations.
  • Persons and businesses are urged to take special care to protect and provide for the well-being of vulnerable populations, including by offering delivery or special shopping hours if possible.
  • Persons with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay at home, and employers may not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work.
  • Persons are urged to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others, especially where social distancing is difficult.
  • Take-out and delivery alcohol sales by restaurants will continue to be allowed to encourage customers to utilize take-out or delivery options.
  • Local orders regarding medical or dental procedures are prohibited because preserving PPE is a question that is statewide in scale and shouldn’t be addressed differently in each county.
  • For the 89 counties without a locally run county health department (all but Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan), this order supersedes any contrary orders or measures, meaning that the counties cannot issue independent orders regarding the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues covered by this order, though counties may continue issuing or enforcing orders or measures on other matters related to COVID-19, such as opening or closure of their governmental buildings, governing their employees, or dealing with the operation of their local government.
  • The county health departments in the 6 counties with locally run county health departments (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan) shall have authority to issue orders or measures that permit or restrict to a different degree than this order the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues, except for places of worship. Otherwise, this order governs on the topics it covers.

Read the full text of the order here.

The Tennessee Pledge: Exercise Facility Guidance

Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group announced guidance today for gyms and exercise facilities on how to reopen safely. Gyms will be allowed to reopen in 89 of the state’s 95 counties beginning Friday, May 1. The counties excluded are those with locally-run health departments: Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan.

In addition to strict adherence to CDC guidelines, the State recommends gyms, fitness/exercise facilities, or substantially similar facilities and activities put into place an assortment of measures to protect consumers and employees, including:

Business Process Adaptations

  • Restrict facility access to staffed hours only (i.e., any unmanned facilities must be manned) and limit facility occupancy to 50 percent of capacity as dictated by fire code (as such capacity is adjusted in consideration of closed areas of the facility pursuant to these guidelines);
  • Mitigate exposure in the workplace by implementing social distancing guidelines and modify scheduling;
  • Staff to conduct regular (i.e., every 2 hours) disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, equipment and common areas of the facility using disinfectant cleaning supplies according to CDC guidelines;
  • Close showers, locker rooms, and lockers until further notice. Ask customers to instead use small gym bags to store personal belongings; 
  • Close all swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas and other recreational water or spa facilities;
  • Close all basketball courts, racquetball courts, and other places where formal and informal group or team sports may occur;
  • Any youth or adult team leagues or sports should remain closed;
  • Only allow group fitness classes if classes can be completed in accordance with social distancing recommendations (including but not limited to: less than 50% capacity and with more than 6 feet of distance maintained between participants at all times; no shared equipment during the class; sufficiently adjusted class schedules to allow for deep cleaning between classes; martial arts and other contact activities should be completed without any person-to-person contact);
  • Encourage all employees and customers to wear PPE where applicable, and recommend that customers wear a face covering (not N-95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers);
  • Adjust equipment layout and close or restrict access to equipment to maintain at least six feet of distance between equipment;
  • Temporarily close water fountains, common areas, break rooms, check-in counters, where customers or employees may congregate. Encourage users to provide their own water;
  • No self-service options (coffee bars, smoothie stations and other forms of communal food in facilities). Food retail should follow restaurant guidelines;
  • Ensure that staffing of facilities is sufficient to enable enhanced sanitization and cleaning measures;

Consumer Protection

  • Screen customers for illness upon entry to the gym:
  • Best practice: Temperature checks for every customer. Persons with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on premise;
  • Minimum: Question customers regarding COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  • Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
  • Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
  • Keep doors and windows open where possible to improve ventilation;
  • Post signs encouraging social distancing (visible to customers);
  • Require that customers wash or sanitize their hands upon entering and leaving the facility;
  • Require customers to clean equipment they come in contact with using disinfecting wipes before and after each use;
  • Encourage customers to use only one piece of equipment at a time (i.e., no circuits or “super setting”) so that machines are cleaned after use;
  • Consider limiting workout length to avoid unnecessary exposure, decrease congestion, and allow for additional sanitization;
  • Recommend that persons more vulnerable or at-risk for  COVID-19 as identified by the CDC—including those who are over the age of 65 or those who have chronic medical conditions—take extra precaution or refrain from use of the facility during Phase 1 of re-opening.

Employee Protection

  • Allow employees to work from home as much as possible;
  • Screen all employees reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Staff should wear face coverings (not N-95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) and other personal protection items as recommended by the CDC;
  • Provide training on personal protective equipment based on CDC guidelines;
  • Provide a sanitizing station such as a wash basin with soap and/or bottle of hand sanitizer;
  • Practice recommended social distancing to the greatest extent possible.

The full guidelines are posted online here.

  • Universal Guidance for Tennessee Businesses can be accessed here.
  • Restaurant Industry Guidance can be accessed here.
  • Retail Industry Guidance can be accessed here.
  • Additional information on Tennessee's Economic Recovery Group is available here.

Stimulus Accountability

With over $2 billion in one-time federal relief funds from the CARES Act coming to Tennessee, Gov. Lee is engaging directly with the White House and the federal delegation to reduce the strain on our state and local budgets.

  • Public Health: Gov. Lee and the state’s Unified-Command Group are working to ensure we have a medical and public health response that gets treatment to those who need it, testing to those who want it, and robust contact tracing for those who may have been infected.
  • Recovery Efforts: Gov. Lee and our Economic Recovery Group are working to ensure that Tennesseans have the resources they need to adapt to a new normal by making sure we get reliable information and guidance out to businesses to operate safely.
  • Fiscal Stability: This health crisis has placed new demands on our state and local governments, and we have to make sure our taxpayer dollars are used wisely. Tennessee’s bi-partisan Stimulus Accountability Group is working to ensure proper stewardship that serves Tennesseans well.

A portion of these federal funds will be utilized to address the costs for COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured. Tennessee will utilize $30 million in state funding through the Division of TennCare to supplement federal dollars if needed. Health care providers treating the uninsured may file claims with the federal government and be reimbursed for treatment provided on or after February 4.

Current Department of Health Testing Results (as of 2 p.m. 4/28)

Confirmed Cases

Hospitalizations

Fatalities

  Recovered

Total Tests

10,052

894

188

 4,921

161,928

 

For more information on COVID-19 in Tennessee, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s website here.