Lee orders nonessential businesses to close statewide

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at the state Capitol on Sept. 16, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee has ordered nonessential businesses to close their doors around the state in response to the coronavirus pandemic in Tennessee.

Lee had resisted calling for business closures around the state even while urban areas like Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and others had already taken those steps.

The move comes after 100 people at a Gallatin nursing home were hospitalized and two died amid a COVID-19 outbreak there. Sumner County’s confirmed coronavirus cases jumped to 179.

The governor’s previous executive orders required restaurants to limit themselves to takeout and delivery, shut down gyms, and banned gatherings of more than 10 people.

Lee was joined by House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) at the announcement. Here’s a statement from McNally:

From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Lee has been deliberate and careful in his approach. This threat changes from day-to-day, hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute. I appreciate Governor Lee’s ability to remain data-focused and flexible. Today’s order is a big step but a needed one at this time. Most population centers in our state are already operating under these conditions. Essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. The most important part of this order is that it sends the message the governor has been sending for many days now in no uncertain terms: stay home and stay apart.

15 Responses to Lee orders nonessential businesses to close statewide

  • Leslie Parsley says:


  • Ken says:

    Bravo! A thumbs up!

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    I hope he cleared that decision with the Chamber of Commerce.

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    I wonder if No Record Candidate Lee, who after all knew and cared little about politics before deciding that a relatively powerless office like Tennessee Governor would be a cool way to get some resume enhancement and a prestigious title, wishes he was back in his old HVAC shop right about now.

  • James White says:

    Unconstitutional. He will be forever known as “Lee the Tyrant”.

  • James White says:


  • MARLE says:

    WWJD? I guess Jesus would bankrupt Kolh’s so that Target can prosper. Good call Gov Lee

    • John says:

      Kohl’s bankrupted themselves years ago. Are you also going to blame Lee for Sears and Proffits?

      • MARLE says:

        So let’s try TJX a very healthy retailer. Down in a month from 63 to 47. While Target is down from 105 to 97.

        TJX sells home goods, clothing, toys. All non-essential so they must close. Target sells the same thing pLUS food. So they get to stay open AND SELL home goods, clothing and toys. WHY???????

        You apparently like the idea of gov picking winners and losers . I don’t . There are sku numbers so that Target could only sell food and pharmacy but the Gov is not mandating that.

  • Eric J. Arnett says:

    How will this executive order be enforced?
    Will police issue tickets to people who refuse to stay at home?

    • MARLE says:

      You know what’s coming next…..forced to wear masks. We’ll be set free to go to the gym or work but we have to wear masks or be fined. You have to wear your seat belt to save lives don’t you. Wait til some dimwit “expert” tells us masks will be critical, after the at-home is lifted, to save lives.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        If that happens it will be soooo governmental when we reflect on the fact that for the first two or three weeks when it was obvious the pandemic was coming here the Great and the Good from the government were doing everything they could think of to convince us that masks were ineffective for the little people, but highly essential because of their effectiveness for health care workers.

        • MARLE says:

          And you can thank the “always-expert” Drs Fauci and Birx for some of that nonsense. I really want complete transcripts of each of the WH briefings that involved Fauci and Birx from day 1 until the briefings stop.

          I have an excellent memory and I am already appalled at the number of lies, half-truths, lies-by-omission, and half-baked-retrated-180-reversals by this duet but I’d like to have it in black and white in its entirety.

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  • James White says:

    Still #LeeTheTyrant

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