In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Lee appointed the Unified-Command to streamline coordination across the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), Tennessee Department of Health, and Tennessee Department of Military.
This group, led by former Finance and Administration Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, strengthens the way we address COVID-19 in Tennessee as we work to simultaneously address health, economic, and supply crises.
Other members of Unified-Command include Dr. Lisa Piercey (Tennessee Department of Health), Maj. General Holmes (Tennessee Department of Military), Patrick Sheehan (Tennessee Emergency Management Agency), and Retired Brigadier General Scott Brower.
Executive Order Breakdown
- Implements the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan with respect to the recent tornados and storms;
- Permits health care professionals licensed in other states to provide health care services in Tennessee related to COVID-19;
- Allows pharmacists to dispense an extra 30-day supply of maintenance prescriptions as needed in response to COVID-19;
- Allows health care professionals to provide localized treatment to patients in temporary residences; • Expands testing sites for COVID-19;
- Allows the construction of temporary health care structures in response to COVID-19;
- Implements price-gouging protections on medical and emergency supplies;
- Suspends restrictions on vehicles transporting emergency supplies to areas affected by COVID-19;
- Permits the waiver of certain regulations on child care centers as needed to respond to the effect of COVID-19;
- Authorizes TennCare policy changes to ensure that covered individuals receive medically necessary services without disruption; and
- Directs coordination with health insurance plans to improve access to screening, testing, and treatment for COVID-19.
- View executive order
- Prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people;
- Directs restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments to offer only drive-thru, take-out or delivery options, while allowing them to sell alcohol (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to those who are age 21 and up;
- Directs gyms and fitness/exercise centers or substantially similar facilities to temporarily close and suspend in-person services;
- Restricts visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted living facilities to essential care and end-of-life visitation only; and
- Encourages businesses to enact policies that assist vulnerable populations, including considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.
- Expires April 6
- View executive order
- Prohibits hospitals, surgical outpatient facilities, and dental providers from performing non-essential medical procedures until April 13 to avoid frequent close contact and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for treating COVID-19; and
- Practitioners are asked to donate their PPE at their nearest National Guard Armory.
- View executive order
- Clarifies that regulations waived to accelerate the transport of emergency supplies and supports include transports of food and sanitation products, suspends requirements for renewing driver licenses and related functions and obtaining vehicle emissions testing to prevent large gatherings at such locations.
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- Waives requirements regarding retired medical professionals to make it easier for them to get back in the medical workforce.
- Suspends certain regulations related to licensing for healthcare professionals, health care facilities, and onsite inspections for laboratories to increase health care services and immediately begin more COVID-19 testing;
- Temporarily suspends continuing education requirements so professionals can continue working through the pandemic;
- Allows for the use of telephone assessments in involuntary commitment cases for individuals with mental illness or emotional disturbances where an in-person evaluation isn’t possible; and
- Reduces regulations concerning telemedicine so that all licensed providers may utilize telemedicine during COVID-19 as long as they are practicing within their normal scope of practice.
- View executive order
- Amends EO 17 to add additional businesses including businesses or organizations that perform close-contact personal services and entertainment and recreational gathering venues.
- Extends EO 17 through April 14, 2020.
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- Gives Commissioner of Health authority to allow post-degree, pre-licensed mental or behavioral health professionals to treat patients through telemedicine under the supervision of a licensed professional.
- Extends payment due date for the professional privilege tax from June 1 to July 1.
- Suspends until July 1 the April 6 deadline for filing applications for property tax relief and tax freezes, so that elderly and other vulnerable populations will not have to visit public buildings to apply.
- Gives the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development the discretion to require a terminating employer’s information faster (within 4 days, rather than 7 days) in the unemployment benefits claims process, in order to speed up processing of benefits.
- Extends price gouging law for another 15-day period (it can only be invoked for 15 days at a time.)
- Suspends expiration of marriage licenses, which normally happens within 30 days of obtaining the license if no ceremony is held, between March 12 and May 31 is until June 30, so that those delaying their weddings because of COVID-19 don’t have to pay for a new license.
- Suspends due dates for filing statements of interest with Tennessee Ethics Commission and Governor’s Office to July 15, so that it is consistent with the federal tax return filing deadline.
- Extends deadline for previously certified law enforcement officers in Tennessee or another state that are beginning work as full-time law enforcement officers to complete certain introductory POST Commission courses.
- Allows motor vehicle dealers to record their interest in financed vehicles with the Secretary of State while county offices are closed.
- Extends due dates for driver license reinstatement installment payments for those on payment plans until June 17.
- Provides flexibility for Tennessee Corrections Institute county jail plans in light of COVID-19 conditions.
- Suspends the requirement that funds provided to the state at walk-in state service locations be deposited within 24 hours if needed to safeguard the health, welfare, and safety of state employees
- Extends the postponement of elective medical and dental procedures until April 30, 2020. Helps ensure that PPE is preserved, and community spread through close medical interaction is limited during the upcoming weeks in which cases/hospitalizations are expected to increase;
- Expands EO18 to more specifically cover all procedures that are elective and non-urgent and can be delayed until after the Order without risking serious adverse consequences to a patient; and
- Limits attendance at surgeries and invasive procedures to essential personnel to preserve PPE to the greatest extent possible.
- View executive order
Overall theme: Allowing Tennesseans to return to work where it can be done safely. Allowing people to earn a livelihood is obviously imperative, and we’ve made progress in terms of cases and in providing operational guidelines for businesses, while strongly encouraging continued adherence to the health guidelines, social distancing, and staying at home whenever possible
- This order 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 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, barbershops, 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.
Executive Order 31 extends the prohibition of non-emergency dental services to Wednesday, May 6, to allow more needed time for the Tennessee Dental Association, the Tennessee Dental Hygienist Association, and the Tennessee Board of Dentistry to are continue their work on guidance for safe reopening and practice.
The full text of Executive Order No. 31 can be found here.
- Waives the fee for obtaining copies of business entity filings from the Secretary of State’s Office when such documents are needed to seek relief under a state or federal program
- Extends the price gouging law for another 15-day period (the maximum allowed under law)
- Allows reimbursement for physical, occupational, and speech therapy via telemedicine for workers’ compensation recipients
- Allows for discretion to utilize National Guard members in connection with TDOC operations or security if necessary, subject to certain conditions, including receiving prior TDOC-related training
- Grants flexibility to the Commissioner of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with respect to hiring requirements made difficult by COVID-19 if needed to maintain service levels for persons supported by the Department
- Allows corporations to conduct remote shareholder meetings, as long as they meet certain requirements to ensure they adequately allow for shareholder participation
- Extends deadline for qualified TNInvestcos to file annual audited financial statements with the Department of Economic and Community Development
Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 34, extending Executive Order No. 16 to allow for government bodies to hold meetings remotely until June 30 to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee.
The full text of the order is available here.
Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 35, amending Executive Order No. 30 to allow for the reopening of small group, non-contact entertainment, and recreational venues according to new Economic Recovery Group guidelines.
The full text of the order is available here.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order No. 36, extending the state of emergency declaration from May 18, 2020 to June 30, 2020, in order to extend certain provisions facilitating the State’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Order No. 36 consolidates provisions from Executive Order Nos. 15, 19, 20, 24, 28, and 32 into one order, while extending and in some cases expanding those provisions. The extensions will ensure continued:
- Broad access to telehealth services;
- Increased opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce;
- Easier access to unemployment benefits;
- Supply chain and price gouging protections;
- Extended deadlines and suspended inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact;
- Increased opportunities to work remotely where appropriate; and
- Ability to remotely notarize and witness legal documents through electronic means.
Provisions from prior Executive Orders that will not continue:
- Expanded scope of practice provisions for nurses and physician assistants. These provisions, which originally appeared in Executive Order Nos. 15 and 28, have served their purpose to flatten the curve in Tennessee. These provisions are not necessary to continue treating and containing COVID-19 at the current time; however, we will continue to monitor conditions to determine whether these provisions should be implemented again.
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy via telemedicine for workers’ compensation recipients are now reimbursable under federal guidelines, so the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation no longer needs an executive order to offer this benefit.
Amended provisions (in order of appearance)
- Health care licenses, certificates, and registrations are further extended until August 31, 2020. Increases the number of health care professionals and facilities that are eligible for an extension and increases the length of extensions until August 31, 2020.
- Health care license application fees are due June 30, 2020. Increases the number of initial applicants who are eligible for a fee suspension and delays the due date for application fees until June 30, 2020.
- Degree holders in science fields can work as laboratory personnel under supervision. It allows more qualified graduates to work in medical laboratories.
- Testing for COVID-19 can occur at more medical laboratory facilities. Allows for more widespread testing related to COVID-19.
- Extends price-gouging protections through June 2, 2020. Current price-gouging protections last through May 18, 2020. Executive Order 36 extends those protections for 15 days (the maximum allowed by law).
- Motor vehicle registration renewal deadlines are further extended until June 15, 2020. More people qualify for extensions.
- Inspections of light-duty motor vehicles are further suspended until June 15, 2020. More people qualify to renew their vehicle registration this year without an inspection.
- Driver licenses and photo ID renewal deadlines are further extended. CDL license types are extended until June 30, 2020; other types are extended until November 15, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Commercial driver licenses with medical card renewals are further extended until June 30, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Deadlines for new Tennessee residents to obtain a Tennessee driver license are further extended until June 30, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Deadlines for payments to reinstate driver licenses are further extended. More people qualify for an extension.
- Enhanced handgun carry permits are further extended through November 15, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Deadlines for persons with interlock ignition devices are further suspended. More people qualify for an extension.
- Time limits regarding civil asset forfeiture proceedings are further suspended through June 30, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Professional educational and training deadlines administered by the Department of Commerce and Insurance may be extended. The Department now has the authority to extend testing deadlines for regulated professions.
Continuing provisions (in order of appearance)
- Activation of Tennessee Emergency Management Plan.
- Out-of-state health care providers may practice in Tennessee.
- Prescriptions available in 90-day supply.
- Increased availability of home health services.
- Notarization is not required for health care applications.
- Retired medical professionals can easily reenter the health care workforce.
- Continuing education requirements are suspended so health care professionals can keep working.
- Laboratory inspections are suspended to allow for immediate COVID-19 testing.
- Health care licensing inspections and investigations are suspended to increase resources available to fight COVID-19 and to protect public health.
- Inspections of pain management clinics are suspended.
- Inspections of health care facilities are suspended.
- Inspections of medical laboratories are suspended.
- Inspections of pharmaceutical facilities are suspended.
- Inspections of veterinary facilities are suspended.
- Live human patient examinations are suspended for dentistry applicants, and the Board of Dentistry may modify licensing procedures accordingly.
- Memoranda of Understanding with the Department of Health to obtain confidential personal health information are enforceable emergency orders.
- Nursing graduates may practice under supervision without examination.
- Expanding locations for autopsies.
- Pharmacists can process prescriptions remotely.
- Each pharmacist can supervise more pharmacy technicians.
- Medical laboratory directors can monitor facilities remotely.
- Pre-license, post-degree mental or behavioral health professionals can provide telehealth services under supervision.
- Medical laboratory personnel can work remotely.
- Increased number of hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients.
- Regulations of emergency medical services are suspended to increase services.
- Temporary quarantine and isolation facilities may be constructed.
- Size and weight transportation restrictions suspended for emergency supplies.
- Transportation hours of service restrictions suspended for emergency supplies.
- Certain criteria for unemployment benefits are suspended to ensure such benefits are available to COVID 19-affected employees.
- Unemployment information from employers required more quickly to process benefits faster.
- Child care licensure and assessment requirements are suspended to facilitate continued operation of child care facilities.
- Examination cycle of financial institutions may be extended.
- Deadline for TNInvestco annual audited financial statement reports extended until July 31, 2020.
- Departments may extend deadlines to deposit state funds to protect state employees/customers.
- Marriage licenses are extended until June 30, 2020 to facilitate delayed marriage ceremonies.
- Application deadline for tax relief is extended through June 30, 2020.
- Deadline for ethics filings is extended until July 15, 2020.
- Deadlines for law enforcement training are extended.
- Deadline for paying professional privilege tax is extended through June 30, 2020.
- Free copies of business entity filings available for those using them to seek state or federal disaster relief.
- Board of Parole may modify procedures to protect public health.
- Suspends temporary application of safety valve provisions resulting from the temporary decrease in TDOC prisoners.
- Governor has discretion to utilize National Guard members in connection with TDOC operations if needed.
- Motor vehicle dealers can record liens with the Secretary of State.
- Administration of driving tests is suspended.
- Issuance of REAL-ID is suspended.
- Tennessee Corrections Institute transfer procedures are adjusted to respond to COVID-19.
- Tennessee Corrections Institute may flexibly respond to COVID-19 issues.
- Deadlines for building code and building plan inspections may be extended.
- Notarization requirements for bonds and certain legal documents are suspended.
- Deadline for firefighters to complete training may be extended.
- Deadline for law enforcement and firefighter physical examinations is extended until October 1, 2020.
- Deadline for peace officers to complete training may be suspended.
- Annual meeting of the Tennessee Judicial Conference is suspended.
- Time periods for completing securities registration requirements may be extended.
- Remote shareholder meetings permitted under certain conditions.
- Discretionary leave available for state employees affected by COVID-19.
- Inspections of mental health and substance abuse facilities and services are suspended.
- Telephone assessments for involuntary commitment cases are permitted.
- TennCare policies adjusted to prevent coverage disruptions.
- Limitations on emergency admissions to Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities facilities are suspended.
- Medication administration certificates may be extended for Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities personnel.
- Suspending requirements not feasible during COVID-19 pandemic to maintain service levels for persons supported by Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
- Health insurance carriers encouraged to take steps necessary to maximize access to COVID-19 treatment, screening, and testing.
- Telemedicine access is expanded.
- All licensed health care providers can practice telemedicine.
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation may conduct name-based background checks.
- Deadline to remove expunged records is suspended.
The full order can be found here.
Questions about COVID-19? Visit our FAQ page or send a message to Governor Lee's Constituent Services team.
NOTE: Please refrain from sending personal health records or other protected medical information to the Governor’s Office. Concerns or questions regarding the federal government or federal matters are best referred to the appropriate federal officeholder. Additionally, please note that the Governor's Office cannot assist constituents with legal matters or intervene on their behalf in judicial or law enforcement matters.