Though Governor Bill Lee signed a “Safer at Home” order strongly urging Tennesseans to stay home to avoid spread of COVID-19, he explained in a press briefing just hours ago that recent data shows that the order is not being followed.
Thus, Lee will sign a “Safer at Home” mandate that will now require Tennesseans to follow the order’s instructions.
“Earlier this week, I signed a ‘Safer at Home’ executive order urging Tennesseans who are not in essential capacities to remain at home unless absolutely necessary,” Lee said in the April 2 press briefing. “We also closed businesses that can’t possibly operate safely. We believe the intent of this order is clear. We need all Tennesseans who can to stay at home. With that said, over the last two or three days, we have seen some troubling data points that tell us that some in our state may not be staying in place as much as we would hope. While many Tennesseans have made good faith efforts to remain at home, there is clear evidence that some citizens are beginning to disregard ‘safer at home’ measures.”
Lee cited data from TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) that analyzed traffic patterns for the month of March.
The data from March 13 through March 29 showed a “steep drop off” in vehicle movement, which Lee attributed to ‘Safer at Home’ measures and increased restrictions in businesses.
However, the data beginning on March 30 indicated that “travel is trending upwards again.”
His office also looked at data from a company called Unacast, which anonymously tracks cell phone mobility “to determine movement trends among people.”
This data also indicated that Tennesseans’ movement is “trending back towards pre-COVID-19 levels after initially dropping.”
“It’s dangerous, it’s unacceptable and it’s a threat to lives in our community,” he said. “For that reason, today, I’m going to step further with my ‘Safer at Home’ executive order and have said that Tennesseans must remain at home unless they are engaging in essential activity.”
In addition to strengthening his “Safer at Home” order, Lee noted that he provided a letter of guidance to local law enforcement on enforcing his precious executive orders 17 and 21.
“Businesses will be given an opportunity to comply with the order before further enforcement action will be taken,” Lee said.
The executive order remains in effect until April 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
“The month of April stands to be an extremely tough time for our state as we face the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Lee. “Every Tennessean must take this seriously, remain at home and ensure we save lives.”
For more information and to watch Lee’s press briefing, visit https://www.tn.gov/.