Second Fentress County COVID-19 Case Confirmed, Gov. Lee Issues Mandatory “Stay at Home” Order

By Jacob E. Rosenbaum

Fentress County now has two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to Health Department Director Andy Langford. Last week, Fentress County had one case, and an increase of only one more is very positive comparable to other counties in the state, and excellent compared to much of the nation.

Additionally, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee amended his original executive order strongly urging Tennesseans to stay home to a full scale mandate, requiring that residents do not leave their homes except to perform essential functions or carry out essential business.

Lee’s decision, according to the Governor’s Office, was motivated by a spike in highway travel earlier last week, which indicated that Tennesseans were beginning to travel at levels near pre-COVID-19. This information, acquired via a cellphone mobility tracking company called Unacast, was apparently enough to move the Governor to mandate that residents remain at home, rather than just encouraging it.

In addition to mandating that residents stay at home, Governor Lee’s order also closed businesses that require close contact between individuals, including hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, massage therapy clinics, and all manner of entertainment venues.

The Executive Order will remain effective and enforceable until April 14, 2020. This is a mandate, and violations bear penalties under the law, ranging from a verbal warning, to a fine, to possible arrest for multiple offenders.

In the days since signing the order, Governor Lee has said that he is encouraged by trends across the state which indicate that the COVID-19 surge may not be as bad as was initially feared in Tennessee. However, the Governor has been clear in conveying that we are not out of the woods just yet, and that every Tennessean needs to remain vigilant during this crisis.

Essential activities as defined by Governor Lee’s Executive Order 22 remain unchanged. A more detailed description of these activities can be found in last week’s edition of the Fentress Courier.

Read the full story in this weeks Fentress Courier.