From the first confirmed case of COVID-19, Gov. Lee and the State of Tennessee streamlined their response to protect the health and safety of all citizens, provide relief for struggling families and businesses, and ensure our economy rebounds from the unprecedented effects of COVID-19. We’re proud of what’s been accomplished and look forward to a safe and strategic recovery.
January 16, 2020
- State Health Operations Center activated due to COVID-19, allowing for the Tennessee Department of Health to maximize capacity and available resources of the state’s metro and regional health departments.
January 21, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Health developed triage and surveillance processes and guidance.
- Department began a healthcare provider call line to answer clinical questions and screen for laboratory testing at CDC.
January 23, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Health distributed the first Tennessee Health Alert Network message on COVID-19 to all licensed healthcare providers in Tennessee.
January 24, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Health developed and published the TDH Novel Coronavirus webpage.
January 31, 2020
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency for the United States.
February 7, 2020
- Returning traveler monitoring implemented in Tennessee.
February 21, 2020
- Tennessee State Public Health Laboratory validated the PCR test at the Nashville laboratory, becoming one of only five states in the nation to complete the verification of the CDC EUA COVID-19 test.
February 24, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Health conducted the first COVID-19 test in the state using the CDC EUA test.
March 3, 2020
- The state's deadliest tornado in seven years hits communities in West and Middle Tennessee, killing 25 Tennesseans, injuring more than 300 and causing $1.1 billion in total damages.
March 4, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced the formation of the Coronavirus Task Force to enhance Tennessee’s coordinated efforts to prevent, identify, and treat potential cases of COVID-19.
March 5, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Health announces the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tennessee.
- TDH establishes a public information line, staffed by Tennessee Poison Center.
March 6, 2020
- President Trump and Gov. Lee toured tornado damage in Putnam County.
March 12, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 14 declaring a State of Emergency to free up funds for the treatment and containment of COVID-19
March 13, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued further guidance regarding mass gatherings, schools, state employees and the State Capitol Building as more confirmed cases of COVID-19 were identified in Tennessee:
- Congregations and groups are urged to consider alternatives to traditional services by utilizing live streams, pre-recorded messages, and other electronic means.
- Events larger than 250 people are discouraged to limit exposure to COVID-19.
- School districts have been advised to exercise discretion when canceling school for K-12 students. The state will provide further support for districts pursuing this action but urge districts to consider the prevalence of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their area. In partnership with districts, students who depend on school-provided meals will still receive this support, regardless of school closure.
- State employees who have been trained and certified to work from home within the state’s Alternative Workplace Solutions program will work from home through March 31, 2020.
- State employees have been instructed to cease all non-essential business travel through March 31, 2020.
- The Tennessee State Capitol is closed to tours and visitors through March 31, 2020. Members of the media will continue to have access to the State Capitol building.
- The Tennessee National Guard begins implementation of a comprehensive plan that balances the health protection of Soldiers and Airmen with mission readiness in the event they are called upon in support of Governor Lee’s state emergency declaration. Upgrades to Health Protection Control – Level C (HPCON-C).
March 14, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Health establishes a second public information line at TEMA.
March 16, 2020
- Gov. Lee and legislative leadership announced all remaining legislative business would be limited to fulfilling the constitutional requirement of passing a balanced budget, and any associated actions that would ensure Tennessee could keep its doors open..
March 17, 2020
- Gov. Lee urged all school districts in Tennessee to close by March 20 and remain closed through March 31. Gov. Lee announced that during this time the School Food Authorities will have the flexibility to continue to provide meals to at-risk students who rely on meals.
- Gov. Lee also announced the following actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee:
- Gov. Lee encouraged childcare facilities to remain open to support community needs and directed The Tennessee Department of Human Services to relax the regulatory burden on child care centers.
- The state will provide $10 million in response and recovery grants to support existing childcare facilities.
- The Tennessee Department of Human Services issued a policy offering emergency cash assistance utilizing TANF funds. Assistance will be up to $1,000 for families of five or more who qualify and who have experienced the loss of a job as a result of COVID-19.
- The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is working to determine how to utilize the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The Tennessee Department will extend unemployment benefits to those quarantined by a physician for COVID-19.
- Gov. Lee’s amended budget includes $200 million to provide specific relief to county and city governments.
March 20, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Health established COVID-19 assessment at rural local health departments.
- The State of Tennessee received the Strategic National Stockpile allocation.
March 22, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 17 calling on businesses to utilize “alternative business models” and prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. The order also:
- Orders restaurants and bars to offer only drive-thru, take-out, or delivery, and permits closed-container alcohol take-out or delivery;
- Temporarily closes gyms and fitness centers; and
- Limits visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care facilities.
March 23, 2020
- Gov. Lee established a COVID-19 Unified-Command Group to streamline coordination across the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Department of Health, and Tennessee Department of Military. The Command will be led by Commissioner Stuart McWhorter.
- The Tennessee National Guard established collection points at armories in 74 counties across the state to receive donated PPE and medical equipment for the state’s front line health care workers.
March 24, 2020
- Gov. Lee mobilized 250 members of the Tennessee National Guard, including 150 medical personnel, to assist TDH personnel with expanded testing across the state at 35 remote assessment sites in some of the most rural counties.
- Gov. Lee extended work from home orders for state employees under the Alternative Workplace Solutions program, until April 24.
- Gov. Lee urged statewide school closures continue until April 24.
- Gov. Lee announced a series of administrative actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, including:
- Delaying the deadline to file franchise and excise taxes until July 15;
- Suspending the issuance of REAL ID through May 18;
- Waiving emissions testing requirements through May 18;
- Filing an emergency petition, in partnership with the Attorney General, an emergency petition asking the Tennessee Public Utility Commission to prohibit utilities from disconnecting services for non-payment during the state of emergency; and
- Directing The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance to issue guidance to providers requesting flexibility for employers and individuals.
March 25, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced the purchase of additional testing supplies using CDC funding.
- The Tennessee Department of Human Services announced the use of emergency response and recovery grants for existing child care facilities, allowing churches, gyms, or non-profits to register with The Tennessee Department to open an emergency temporary child care facility.
March 26, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced the creation of Tennessee Talent Exchange, a public-private partnership with the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, Tennessee Retail Association, and Hospitality TN to match out of work Tennesseans with companies currently experiencing business surges.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 20 to better mobilize health care workers, by:
- Loosening restrictions around retired medical professionals returning to the workforce;
- Temporarily suspending continuing education requirements so professionals can continue to work through the pandemic;
- Calling for the availability of phone assessments for individuals with mental illness or emotional disturbances; and
- Expanding telemedicine efforts.
- Gov. Lee extended emergency cash assistance (TANF) for up to two months to families significantly impacted by COVID-19. Families who have lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income as a result of the pandemic are eligible.
- Gov. Lee announced the creation of the Talent Exchange, a public-private partnership with the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, Tennessee Retail Association, and Hospitality TN to match out-of-work individuals with companies currently experiencing business surges.
- LaunchTN led an evaluation of technology-based solutions for data analysis on disease spread, contact tracing, collective impact, and community planning for disaster response.
- The State of Tennessee Launched the “Do Your Part, Stay Apart” Public Service Campaign.
March 27, 2020
- TEMA coordinates to receive 25,000 sq. feet of donated warehouse space from Genesco Corp. to serve as a PPE and supply distribution point manned by TEMA and Tenn. Guard personnel.
March 29, 2020
- The COVID-19 Unified-Command Group announced coordination with the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing to address the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
- The transport of 23 residents to Sumner Regional Medical Center via an ambulance strike team of EMS Professionals on Friday, March 27;
- Engagement of the National Guard on-site to assist with testing;
- Isolation of staff members who tested positive; and
- Deep cleaning and disinfecting of the facility.
March 30, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No.22 issuing “Safer at Home” guidelines, which will remain in effect until April 14.
- The Unified-Command Group announced the Tennessee Innovation Crowdsource Platform, a partnership with LaunchTN to sync together businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups to solve the challenges facing our state during this unprecedented time.
- LaunchTN began discussions with Renfro, Corp, a global sock brand company, headquartered in Mount Airy, N.C., with a manufacturing and distribution operation in Cleveland, Tenn., to make cloth face masks available to as many Tennesseans as possible.
March 31, 2020
- The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services began working with behavioral health providers to expand service to individuals who need professional behavioral health help, including expanded telehealth services and mobile behavioral health care units.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Tennessee’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables Tennessee to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, and allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings.
April 1, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare for a surge of hospitalizations.
April 2, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 23 requiring Tennesseans to stay at home except for essential activities.
- President Trump approved Tennessee’s major disaster declaration, accelerating coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers, and expanding statewide capacity by 7,000 beds.
- The Tennessee Department of Health began registering volunteers for COVID-19 medical and non-medical responders using the Medical Reserve Corps
April 3, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 24, which:
- Grants with Commissioner of Health authority to expand telemedicine and allow post-degree, pre-licensed mental or behavioral health professionals to treat patients;
- Suspends and extends deadlines for filing and paying taxes and applying for tax relief;
- Grants the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development discretion to require expedited information in processing unemployment benefits claims;
- Extends the law against price gouging for an additional 15 days;
- Suspends the expiration of marriage licenses;
- Extends the deadline for law enforcement officers to complete certain introductory POST Commission courses;
- Extends the due date for driver license reinstatement installment payments;
- Provides flexibility for Tennessee Corrections Institute county jail plans; and
- Suspends requirements regarding the deposit of funds at the walk-in state service location.
- With shortages of personal protective equipment, the Tennessee Department of Health creates Memorandum of Understanding with first responders to temporarily provide COVID-19 positive case information.
April 6, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced $200 million in grants to be distributed to every county and city government across the state for one-time, local expenses.
- Gov. Lee announced $10 million in Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants to support hospitals.
- The Tennessee Division of TennCare submitted a waiver to the federal government seeking matching dollars to address the uninsured population.
April 7, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced support for the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers fully forgivable loans to help small businesses maintain payrolls.
April 8, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 25, extending the postponement of elective medical and dental procedures until April 30.
- Gov. Lee announced a partnership with HealthStream, a Nashville-based company that will provide quick and free training to retired or furloughed medical workers willing to rejoin the workforce to fight COVID-19.
April 9, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced a partnership with Nextdoor to provide official, real-time information to Tennesseans about the state’s response.
April 13, 2020
- At least nine dead, dozens hospitalized and 150 buildings damaged after storms and tornado rip through Hamilton and Bradley Counties.
- Gov. Lee traveled to Chattanooga, TN to survey storm damage and visit with communities that were impacted by deadly storms.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 27 extending the state’s Stay at Home Order until April 30.
- Gov. Lee announced the development of the Economic Recovery Group to coordinate legislative leadership, local leadership, health care professionals, and industry representatives to reboot the economy.
April 15, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced expanded COVID-19 testing in coordination with the National Guard, free to all Tennesseans, regardless of symptoms,
- Gov. Lee called on schools to remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
- Gov. Lee Appointed Butch Eley as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration
April 16, 2020
- Gov. Lee appointed the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell to lead the Economic Recovery Group.
- Gov. Lee announced the creation of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group to oversee the prudent fiscal management of CARES Act funding received by the state.
April 17, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 28, removing regulatory barriers to facilitate the treatment of COVID-19, including:
- Extending the deadline for firefighters to obtain a medical examination;
- Suspending the collaborating physician requirement for nurse practitioners and physician assistants;
- Allowing nursing school graduates to work during the emergency order under the supervision of a licensed nurse;
- Allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to write orders for home health services;
- Expanding the facilities in which autopsies may be performed;
- Allowing medical laboratory personnel to work from home in reviewing data and reporting results;
- Protecting HIPAA information sent by the DoH to first responders and law enforcement personnel; and
- Extending the price gouging law for an additional 15 days.
- The Tennessee Department of Human Services announced new child care assistance to support families serving in essential workforce positions.
- Gov. Lee announced expanded testing, with the Tennessee National Guard establishing 15 drive-through testing sites.
April 20, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced that Tennessee’s Stay at Home order will expire on April 30th, and a vast majority of businesses in 89 of 95 counties will be allowed to reopen on May 1st.
- Unified-Command Group tests more than 11,000 Tennesseans
April 21, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced that the first four grants of a $10 million grant program were distributed to support hospitals facing financial strain.
- The Tennessee Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health Disparities Elimination provided an overview of efforts to engage minority communities seeking testing and treatment. Actions include:
- Engagement of non-profits, faith leaders, legislators, and local leaders;
- Expanded testing efforts to coordinate with local health clinics and safety-net clinics;
- Focused resources to improve race and ethnicity data collection; and
- Additional public service announcements focused on minority health concerns
- LaunchTN convened an entrepreneur center alongside other Tennessee CEOs to formulate strategies to get entrepreneurs, innovators, and startups back to work.
April 22, 2020
- The Tennessee COVID-19 Unified-Command Group released data regarding the state’s long-term care facilities and outlined a plan for preventing future cases and mitigating present clusters of cases within these facilities.
April 23, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced the following initial guidance on retail industry reopening:
- Restaurants operating at 50% capacity and following Tennessee Pledge guidance will reopen on Monday, April 27; and
- Retail outfits operating at 50% and following Tennessee Pledge guidance will reopen on Wednesday, April 29.
- The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued an update on actions to support Tennesseans including system upgrades and benefit distribution.
- The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers announced that most state parks will reopen for day-use only on Friday, April 24.
- LaunchTN worked with the University of Memphis and Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Marie Williams to introduce a suicide prevention technology strategy for the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks joined Tennessee’s “Do Your Part, Stay Apart” Public Service Campaign.
April 24, 2020
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group issued guidance to restaurants and retailers as part of “Tennessee Pledge,” the state’s rollout approach to safely reopening businesses in 89 of 95 counties.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 29, amending Executive Order No. 17 and allowing restaurants to begin reopening on April 27.
- The Tennessee Department of Health established an Enhanced Testing Strategy team to coordinate laboratory testing for vulnerable populations including prisoners, staff and residents at nursing homes, and minority populations.
April 27, 2020
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group released Universal Guidance for Tennessee Businesses, found here.
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group issued safe reopening guidance for restaurant and retail industries.
- The Unified-Command Group announced the free testing of more than 7,000 Tennesseans – regardless of symptoms – at drive-through sites across the state.
- Gov. Lee directed the Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration to temporarily freeze any new non-mission critical hires to the state’s workforce.
- Gov. Lee announced that elective medical procedures may resume on May 1.
April 28, 2020
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group issued guidance for gyms and exercise facilities to safely reopen beginning May 1.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 30, repealing Executive Order Nos 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, and 29. The Order will, among other things:
- Maintain the prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more people, with the exception of places of worship, weddings, and funerals;
- Allow certain businesses to return to work in compliance with health guidelines;
- Mandate that entertainment and recreational gathering venues remain closed;
- Provide guidance regarding limited service in restaurants and take-out and delivery of alcohol;
- Provide guidance to nursing homes and like long-term care facilities regarding visitation; and
- Outline requirements to the public writ large.
April 29, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 31, extending the prohibition of non-emergent dental services until May 6.
- Gov. Lee announced that close contact services, such as salons and barbershops, will be able to safely reopen beginning May 6.
April 30, 2020
- The Tennessee Economic Recovery Group issued guidance for close contact services to safely reopen beginning May 6.
- Gov. Lee joined President Trump for a White House Briefing on protecting America’s seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Gov. Lee announced that his Administration has been working with the Tennessee Medical Association to prepare for the expiration of Executive Order No. 25, and the resumption of elective and non-urgent medical procedures beginning May 1.
May 1, 2020
- The Unified-Command Group announced a mass testing strategy for all Tennessee Department of Correction staff and inmates.
- Gov. Lee’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives issued guidance for faith communities on safely gathering together in houses of worship.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 32, outlining plans to further mitigate COVID-19, including:
- Waiving fees to obtain copies of business entity filings for purposes of seeking relief under a state of a federal program;
- Extending the price gouging law for another 15-day period;
- Allowing reimbursement for physical, occupational, and speech therapy via telemedicine for workers’ compensation recipients;
- Allowing for discretion in the utilization of National Guard members in connection with TDOC operations or security;
- Granting flexibility to the Commissioners of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with respect to hiring requirements made difficult by COVID-19;
- Allowing corporations to conduct remote shareholder meetings; and
- Extending the deadline for qualified TNInvestco to file annual audited financial statements with the Department of Economic and Community Development.
May 4, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced that more than 23,000 Tennesseans received free COVID-19 tests at more than 67 drive-through testing sites as part of the Unified-Command Group’s efforts to broaden testing access.
May 5, 2020
- The Unified-Command Group announced two strategic partnerships to provide Tennessee households and health care workers with protective face coverings and PPE.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 33, allowing the safe reopening of close contact services.
- Gov. Lee announced that, under guidelines set by the Tennessee Board of Dentistry and the American Dental Association, dental procedures will resume on May 6.
- LaunchTN worked with the Economic Recovery Group to establish the Tennessee PPE Vendor Directory.
May 6, 2020
- The Tennessee Economic Recovery Group released additional guidance for recreation, offices, lodging, construction and manufacturing, small group, and non-contact recreation businesses to reopen on May 8.
May 7, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 34, allowing government bodies to hold meetings remotely until June 30.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 35, allowing the reopening of small group, non-contact entertainment, and recreational venues.
May 8, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced next steps for Tennessee’s Unified-Command Group.
May 12, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order Nos 36 and 37, extending the state of emergency from May 18 until June 30.
- The Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Tennessee Department of Health announced a collaboration to increase testing accessibility for intermediate care facilities and members of the Employment and Community First CHOICES program.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No.s 36 and 37, extending the state of emergency from May 18 until June 30.
May 13, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced coordination between the Unified-Command Group and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) to provide free, voluntary COVID-19 testing, by Tenn. National Guard medics, for families and residents at 14 MDHA communities in Nashville.
May 14, 2020
- Memphis 401-bed Alternative Care Site (ACS) at Commercial Appeal building completed.
May 15, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced coordination between the Unified-Command Group, the Knoxville Community Development Corporation, the Knox County Health Department, and the Memphis Housing Authority to provide free, voluntary COVID-19 testing, by Tenn. National Guard medics, for families and residents at six KCDC properties in Knoxville and 5 MHA properties in Memphis.
- The Economic Recovery Group announced the lifting of capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail effective May 22, in the 89 counties with a state-run health department.
- The Group also issued guidance to facilitate the reopening of large, non-contact attractions on or after May 22, in the 89 counties with a state-run health department.
May 18, 2020
- The Governor announced the completion of the Memphis Alternative Care Site that can treat over 400 additional individuals.
May 19, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced the final distribution of Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants to support smaller hospitals that are facing financial strain due to the ongoing COVID-19 response.
May 20, 2020
- Gov. Lee announced coordination between the Unified-Command Group and the Chattanooga Housing Authority to provide free, voluntary COVID-19 testing, by Tenn. National Guard medics, for families and residents at four CHA communities in Chattanooga.
- The Economic Recovery Group issued updated guidance for restaurants and retail, along with new guidelines that enable attractions and larger venues to reopen with social distancing and capacity restrictions on or after May 22 in the 89 counties with a state-run health department.
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 38, allowing groups of up to 50 people to participate in social and recreational activities while encouraging strong social distancing measures.
May 22, 2020
- Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 38, allowing groups of up to 50 people to participate in social and recreational activities while encouraging strong social distancing measures.
May 27, 2020
- Gov. Lee calls the State Funding Board to review economic projections and assess the impacts of COVID-19 on state revenues and the budget.
- Healthcare Facilities Board unanimously approved new rules from the Department of Health requiring testing of all long-term care facilities. Once a nursing home has completed initial testing, each facility shall test all staff members for COVID-19 at least once every seven days beginning the later of June 30 or the date the facility completes initial testing.
- Tennessee reached the milestone of testing 6% of the state’s population with 400,000+ tests conducted since March. First responders set to receive shipments of personal protective equipment to guard against COVID-19 transmission in the line of duty.
May 28, 2020
- Tennessee Economic Recovery Group issued guidance for non-contact sports, overnight camps, and Tennessee’s higher education institutions.
- Metro Nashville General Hospital announced as the Middle Tennessee alternate care site, providing 67 additional beds for low-acuity COVID-19 patients.
May 29, 2020
- Tennessee’s Unified-Command Group released a new report on the state’s efforts to protect long-term care facility residents from the spread of COVID-19. The full report can be found here.
June 2, 2020
- Gov. Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced the Tennessee Business Relief Program, a new support program for Tennessee businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 4, 2020
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group issued updated guidelines for close contact service businesses, exercise facilities and recreation activities, attractions and large venues under the Tennessee Pledge.
June 5, 2020
- Gov. Lee, Metro Nashville official, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mark the completion of Middle Tennessee’s Alternative Care Site, Metro Nashville General at Meharry.
June 8, 2020
- Tennessee sees a record-high 13,995 COVID-19 tests conducted in a single day.
June 10, 2020
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group announced a partnership with University of Tennessee, Knoxville researchers for data collection throughout the summer to track citizens’ sense of safety and economic well-being as the state reopens.
- Gov. Lee and the Unified-Command Group issued guidance on requirements and options permitting Tennessee’s long-term care facilities to provide limited visitation options while keeping their resident populations safe from COVID-19.
- Gov. Lee and the Economic Recovery Group announce pop-up testing events for employees who are returning to the office.
- Gov. Lee announces face mask distribution to resume.
June 15, 2020
- Long-term care facilities in Tennessee began reinstating limited visitation options while keeping their resident populations safe from COVID-19.
- The Tennessee Department of Education released the first five reopening toolkits in a series of 20+ topic-specific resources to help guide district leaders in local decision-making for school reopening this fall.
June 17, 2020
- Gov. Lee joined First Lady Melania Trump and Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to discuss the creation of the state’s COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force and Tennessee’s efforts to address mental and physical health for children and families.
- Gov. Lee joined a WebEx meeting with the Tennessee federal delegation to help announced the U.S. Department of Energy $20 million dollar grant to the Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee Knoxville to expand the university’s partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to train the next generation of American scientists and engineers.
June 18, 2020
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group enlisted more than 30 flagship TN brands to get approximately 300,000 masks (valued at $3 million) in the hands of Tennessee residents
- Tennessee’s long-term care facilities announced substantial progress in COVID-19 testing, with 96.7 of the state’s facilities completed testing ahead of the June 30 deadline.
June 29, 2020
- Gov. Lee extended the State of Emergency to Aug. 29, 2020. Executive Order No. 50 allows the continued suspension of various laws and regulations and other measures in these orders to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19 through regulatory flexibility, promoting social distancing and avoidance of large gatherings, and protecting vulnerable populations.
- Gov. Lee signed Executive Order Nos. 51 and 52, which extend provisions that allow for electronic government meetings subject to transparency safeguards and remote notarization and witnessing of documents, respectively, to August 29, 2020.
July 1, 2020
- Gov. Lee signed Executive Order No. 53, which provides COVID-19-related limited liability protections for healthcare providers.
July 3, 2020
- Gov. Lee granted mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue COVID-19 mask requirements.
July 7, 2020
- Gov. Lee and the Fiscal Stimulus Accountability Group announced $81 million in CARES funding for K-12 and higher education institutions to assist with safe reopening plans.
July 13, 2020
- Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group released Tennessee Pledge guidelines for the film, TV and music industry like filming on location, working with cast and crew, equipment, transportation and more.
July 20, 2020
- Gov. Lee and the Fiscal Stimulus Accountability Group announced $115 million for local governments to support their COVID-19 response.
July 21, 2020
- Gov. Lee and the Fiscal Stimulus Accountability Group announced $150 million of relief funds for Tennessee non-profits to assist their ongoing efforts to address the ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
July 23, 2020
- The State of Tennessee launched the “Face It” ad campaign to promote mask wearing to fight COVID-19.
July 28, 2020
- Gov. Lee, the Department of Health, and Department of Education released the State’s safe reopening plan for Tennessee schools.
July 31, 2020
- Gov. Lee signed an executive order to allow contact sports and extend local authority for mask requirements. This order also extended the healthcare liability protections in EO 53.
August 6, 2020
- Gov. Lee and Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced additional resources to assist school reopening plans.
August 7, 2020
August 11, 2020
- Gov. Lee and Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced a new education dashboard, child wellbeing toolkit and assessment resources.
August 14, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced new and expanded financial relief programs for small businesses, agribusinesses, displaced workers, and the tourism industry through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
o $83.5 million for small businesses; $50 million for agriculture economic relief; $25 million for tourism industry recovery; $9.5 million for workforce development.
August 21, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced $61 million in Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund grants to improve access to broadband internet across the state.
August 28, 2020
· Gov. Lee signed Executive Order No. 59 to extend the state of emergency, regulatory flexibility provisions, and local authority on face coverings through Sept. 30, 2020.
· Gov. Lee signed Executive Order No. 60 to allow governing bodies to meet electronically regarding essential business as long as they provide electronic access to the public and meet the safeguards established in that order to ensure openness and transparency through Sept. 30, 2020.
· Gov. Lee signed Executive Order No. 61 to allow for remote notarization and remote witnessing of documents, subject to compliance with certain procedures.
August 28, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Department of Revenue announced a new digital eligibility tool for small business owners to determine if their business may be eligible for a Tennessee Business Relief Program payment.
August 31, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Department of Revenue announced a new digital eligibility tool for small business owners to determine if their business may be eligible for a Tennessee Business Relief Program payment.
September 17, 2020
· The University of Tennessee’s Boyd Center projected tax premiums paid by the state’s employers would have increased by at least 300% in 2021 had Gov. Lee and Financial Stimulus Accountability Group not proactively invested in the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund.
· Tennessee’s Unified Command Group announced three new initiatives to enhance the well-being and quality of life of Tennesseans in long-term health care facilities, including expanding options for visitation, relaxing restrictions for resident interactions within LTCFs and the formation of the Tennessee COVID-19 Long-Term Care Task Force.
September 21, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Department of Agriculture announced $55 million in Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business (CAFB) Fund awards to farm and forestry businesses.
September 23, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Department of Education released estimated data regarding learning loss for Tennessee students resulting from COVID-19 school closures through the summer months. Preliminary data projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math.
September 25, 2020
· Gov. Lee announced a 5-day extension for eligible small businesses to certify for the Tennessee Business Relief Program (TBRP).
September 29, 2020
· Gov. Lee announced the State of Emergency in Tennessee will continue through October.
· Gov. Lee signed Executive Order No. 63 to extend certain, targeted provisions of previous executive orders through October 30, including the authority of local governments to institute mask requirements.
o Remaining restrictions on businesses and gathering sizes in the 89 counties with a state-run health department were removed through this order.
· Governor Lee signed Executive Order No. 64, which extends through October 30 provisions that allow for remote notarization and witnessing of documents.
October 2, 2020
October 7, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced an initial $50 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for the new Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant (SERG) program to provide additional relief to small businesses suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
o SERG includes specific support for minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses, as well as businesses owned by disabled persons.
October 16, 2020
· Gov. Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn called for removing negative consequences for schools and educators associated with student assessments for the 2020-2021 school year. Student assessments will be conducted as planned.
October 20, 2020
· Gov. Lee announced a new ad campaign, “Choices”, to promote responsible decision-making by Tennesseans as the state continues to fight the spread of COVID-19. The ad will air across the state on broadcast, cable, and digital media.
October 21, 2020
· Gov. Lee’s Unified Command Group announced drive-through COVID-19 testing sites in three counties Saturday, Oct. 24 to address rising case rates in Tennessee’s rural areas.
· The Department of Health announced the state’s infrastructure plan for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines once they become available.
October 28, 2020
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 65, an order to extend remote meetings and implement best practices across the state to promote transparent government while protecting the health and safety of citizens and government officials, through December 27, 2020.
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 66, an order extending remote notarization and witnessing of documents, through December 28, 2020.
October 30, 2020
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 67, an order to facilitate the continued response to COVID-19 by extending the provisions of Executive Order No. 63, through December 29, 2020.
November 4, 2020
· Gov. Lee’s Unified Command Group announced drive-through COVID-19 testing sites in three counties Saturday, Nov. 7 to address the rising case rates in Tennessee’s rural areas.
November 12, 2020
· Gov. Lee announced Reconnect to Workforce, a partnership between Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Tennessee Reconnect Program and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
· Reconnect to Workforce will assist up to 500,000 Tennesseans claiming unemployment benefits to earn a college degree while fulfilling work search requirements.
November 16, 2020
· Gov. Lee’s Unified Command Group announced more COVID-19 testing options will be made available leading up to and just after Thanksgiving, with extended operating hours at 35 county health departments.
November 18, 2020
· Gov. Lee announced a new ad campaign, “Never Miss a Moment”, to promote responsible decision-making by Tennesseans as the state continues to fight the spread of COVID-19. The ad will air across the state on broadcast, cable, radio, outdoor and digital media.
December 3, 2020
· Gov. Lee joined Vice President Pence, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Redfield in Memphis for the Operation Warp Speed COVID-19 roundtable.
December 4, 2020
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 68, an order to facilitate the continued response to COVID-19 by increasing health care resources and capacity.
December 8, 2020
· Gov. Lee joined President Trump at the White House for the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit.
December 9, 2020
· Gov. Lee and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced a new campaign, “Let’s Get to Work, Tennessee,” to help Tennesseans find and obtain meaningful employment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
December 20, 2020
· Gov. Lee delivered a statewide address via social media platforms to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 70, an order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care capacity by limiting gatherings and spectator events, and urging work from home, effective through January 19, 2021.
December 22, 2020
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 71, an order extending remote meetings and implementing best practices across the state to promote transparent government while protecting the health and safety of citizens and government officials, effective through February 27, 2021.
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 72, an order extending remote notarization and witnessing of documents, effective through February 27, 2021.
· Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 73, an order to facilitate the continued response to COVID-19 by extending executive order provisions, effective through February 27, 2021.
December 29, 2020
· Gov. Lee called for a special legislative session to address learning loss, funding, accountability, literacy and teacher pay.
December 30, 2020
· The Department of Health updated the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and its phased approach to administering COVID-19 vaccines to Tennesseans.
January 4, 2021
· The Department of Health announced that county health departments administered more than 25,000 COVID-19 vaccinations during the New Year weekend, with more than 157,000 total vaccinations administered statewide.
January 5, 2021
January 11, 2021
· The Department of Health announced Phase 1 populations and Tennesseans aged 75 and older can make appointments online to received the COVID-19 vaccine at county health departments.
January 12, 2021
· The Department of Health announced more than 221,000 Tennesseans had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within the first four weeks of the vaccine’s availability in the state.