House Democrats say Lee is putting lives at risk by opening state too soon

House Democrats are blasting Gov. Bill Lee’s plan to allow his statewide stay-at-home order to expire at the end of the month. The caucus announced Tuesday it “fully” supports Tennesseans getting back to work, but not while the number of coronavirus cases is still increasing in the state.

“We have had PPE shortages, insufficient and incomplete testing, and have not had a comprehensive plan for contact tracing laid out to the public. The process for getting Tennesseans unemployment and financially supporting small businesses has been a complete failure,” the Democrats said in a press release. “In light of this, we ask: How can we trust him to handle reopening the state?”

Here’s the full release from House Democrats:

The House Democratic Caucus says Governor Bill Lee is putting the lives of our loved ones and Tennesseans at risk by opening the state too soon.

While the Caucus fully supports getting Tennesseans back to work, it needs to be done in a manner that protects the lives of residents during this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. As of today, the number of positive cases are still increasing in Tennessee.

The Lee administration has proven that it is incapable of managing the state under the stay at home order: We have had PPE shortages, insufficient and incomplete testing and have not had a comprehensive plan for contact tracing laid out to the public. The process for getting Tennesseans unemployment and financially supporting small businesses has been a complete failure. We recognize the hard work of many of the employees of the Department of Labor and, in fact, all Tennesseans across the state, despite how they have been let down by the Governor’s office. In light of this, we ask: How can we trust him to handle reopening the state?

Tennesseans deserve to get the basic services that they pay their tax dollars for: keeping them safe and healthy and financially afloat during hard times. We recognize the economic seriousness that we face, Democrats have always fought for working class Tennesseans regardless of party affiliation. But we need to get the basics right while we are closed before we take the next step and reopen the state.

Health care workers on the front lines like pulmonologist Dr. Aaron Milstone said yesterday: “rolling back health protections like the stay at home order without first having the ability to quickly identify new cases, break chains of transmission, and protect first responders and health care workers from infection only jeopardizes lives and the economy – and it goes against the very recommendations of the Centers for Disease announced today, (yesterday).”

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