Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, said in a signed executive order on Sunday he encourages Tennesseans to work remotely or via telework from home where possible and also limited public gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.
“Limiting large social gatherings and spectator sports and athletic events will reduce the potential for events that lead to substantial spread and further diminish our health care capacity, while also allowing our economy to remain open and Tennesseans employed,” the governor said.
The governor called the state during a live video conference “ground zero” in the battle with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. He urged residents to not gather with people outside their immediate households during the upcoming holidays.
Executive Order 70 pic.twitter.com/ly2CuE8X1Z
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) December 21, 2020
The new order excluded a limit on churches, weddings, or funerals, though Lee strongly encouraged that those events continue to utilize virtual or online services and follow government health guidelines.
While the governor didn’t enforce further restrictions on weddings and funerals, Lee did encourage “any large public celebration component of weddings and funerals” to be postponed or “attended only by close family members.”
A mask mandate was absent from the order as well, Lee instead decided to let local counties have the option of implementing their own mask restrictions. Tennessee is one of a dozen states across the nation without a mask mandate.
The governor’s message comes just a day after he confirmed that his wife, Maria, had tested positive for the CCP virus. He said in a statement he has tested negative but will remain in quarantine at the governor’s residence.
“Maria began exhibiting mild symptoms of COVID-19 and it was confirmed this afternoon that she has tested positive,” Lee said in the release.
“I am feeling well with no symptoms and have tested negative for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, I will be quarantining at the Governor’s Residence,” he continued.
Lee was originally scheduled to take reporter questions after his statewide address, but his office later postponed that until Monday without giving a reason why.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.