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Governor Bill Lee issues executive order limiting group sizes at social gatherings

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued executive order 70 Sunday night – an order that stops short of instituting a statewide mask mandate in Tennessee, but limits indoor public gatherings.

The order asks for everyone to work at home when possible and limit gatherings. Below are notes regarding the order, including changes to TSSAA events. The full order is also below.

Governor Lee’s executive order calls for the following:

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*Tennesseans should work from home where possible. This is not a mandate, but urges employers and businesses to take steps to the “greatest extend practicable to equip, encourage, allow or require employees to work remotely or via telework from home.”

* Social gathering limitations. Lee’s order calls for Tennesseans to maintain at least six feet of separation from persons outside their household and “shall not in any event be in a group of 10 or more persons in an indoor public place for the purposes of social gatherings, activities or events; provided that this limitation does not necessarily prohibit 10 or more total persons from gathering in a single place or venue for an activity or event if they are in separate, otherwise permissible smaller groups that substantially maintain six feet or more of separation from other persons or separate groups.”

The social distancing guidelines do not apply to worship services, weddings or funerals because these are not considered social gatherings.

However, places of worship are “strongly encouraged to follow the guidance for gathering together in houses for worship” issued by the Governor’s office of faith-based and community initiatives regarding in-person services that can be conducted safely. It is encouraged that large public celebration of weddings and funerals be postponed or attended only by close  family.

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 *Spectator sports and athletic events. Local education agencies and schools shall have the authority to permit school-sponsored sporting events and activities, provided that all such activities, including practices and games or competition, must be conducted in a manner consistent with COVID-19 related guidance and rules adopted by the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

There is this caveat to school sponsored events: “schools, organizers and facilities shall not permit spectators to attend practices, games or competition; provided, that game, school and facility administrators, athletic officials, coaching and team personnel, parents, guardians or other immediate household members of athletes practicing or competing at the venue on that date, media and athletic scouting personnel attending the event in their professional capacity, and first responders may be present within the facility, but must to the greatest extend practicable comply with applicable health protocols, including maintaining at least 6 feet of separation from persons outside their household.”

The TSSAA is expected to release additional guidance for member schools Monday.

The full order is below.

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