Lee unveils ‘Tennessee Pledge’ for reopening state economy

Gov. Bill Lee on Friday outlined his plan for rebooting the state’s economy, starting with restaurants and retail stores. Under his “Tennessee Pledge” guidelines, both will be allowed to begin operating next week at 50% capacity.

Here’s the full release from the governor’s office:

Nashville, Tenn. – Today, Gov. Bill Lee issued the first steps from the “Tennessee Pledge,” the state’s rollout of guidance and best practices for Tennessee businesses in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to keep employees and customers safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first industries to receive guidance through the plan include the restaurant and retail industries.

“Tennesseans pulled together to flatten the curve, and it is time for people to begin to get back to work and back to their businesses,” Lee said. “We are pursuing a careful, measured approach to reopening our economy that does not depend on heavy-handed mandates but instead provides practical tools for businesses of all sizes.”

Lee underscored the Tennessee Pledge plan for safe economic recovery is supported by data showing Tennessee’s curve of novel coronavirus infections hitting a plateau. Lee also pointed to the unsettling economic reality COVID-19 has created in our state. 

Tennessee has seen the average daily growth rate remain stable for 14 days, in addition to a steady downward trajectory in positive tests as a percentage of total tests since April 1. The state has also had a massive ramp up in testing, included open testing available to all Tennesseans across 33 sites over last weekend, 18 this weekend, and more the next.

On the economic front, 15 percent of Tennessee’s workforce filed unemployment claims as of this week – more than 400,000 people. State officials predict a $5 billion loss in the state’s gross domestic product during 2020.

Lee said today’s announcement is the first step in a phased reopening of the state’s economy, which entails rebooting industries as they are safe to pursue in 89 of the state’s 95 counties. The state is working with Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan on plans to reopen businesses in those counties. Lee added that many Tennesseans are facing not just potential sickness but crippling financial hardship, particularly in the service industries.

Lee announced Tennessee restaurants are able to reopen Monday at 50 percent occupancy. Additionally, Tennessee retailers are able to reopen on Wednesday at 50 percent occupancy. The state recommends that employees in both industries wear cloth face coverings and that business owners follow federal guidelines for hygiene and workplace sanitation standards related to the pandemic. The full guidance offered by the state for both sectors can be found here.

“Like the rest of the country, Tennessee has taken an unprecedented economic hit with families and small businesses feeling the most pain,” Lee said. “We must stay vigilant as a state, continue to practice social distancing, and engage in best practices at our businesses so that we can stay open.”

Lee’s administration assembled the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group, pulling together the state’s departments of tourism, economic development, and revenue, members of the Tennessee General Assembly, and business leaders to safely reboot Tennessee’s economy. The group is chaired by Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell.

Ezell said the state’s guidelines for restaurants and retail stores were developed in cooperation with business leaders in both sectors, mayors from across the state, and members of the legislature and health experts, as well as Unified Command which includes the Tennessee Department of Health. He added the reopening of future sectors would be accomplished with similar input from industry leaders and elected officials.

“We need Tennessee businesses, workers, and consumers to step up and pledge to follow these guidelines,” Ezell said. “It is critically important that we maintain our commitment to social distancing and adhere to these new guidelines so that we can continue to reopen our economy.”

49 Responses to Lee unveils ‘Tennessee Pledge’ for reopening state economy

  • Avatar
    Phil Lassiter says:

    I saw where the Iranian, Michael Lofti who berated women in David Byrd fiasco and worked for Cocaine Cade Cothren is helping several other Republicans get elected.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      No Phil, you don’t understand, when Erik devotes a space for “Responses” he means responses to the articles to which the space is attached rather than statements about anything that just happens to enter your head. BTW, isn’t there anything more interesting in your head than the activities of Michael Lofti?

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        John says:

        Are you okay? Take 2 Hydroxychloroquine, a Tide Pod, a cup of Clorox and lay in a tanning bed at one of your newly opened Williamson County Swinger Clubs and call me in the morning.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      And I’m just curious Phil, now that I know that Michael Lofti is “Iranian” when he is offering his election help to those Republicans is he doing it in Farsi or is he bilingual and how the heck did he learn so much about Tennessee politics as a citizen of Iran? Come on Phil, tell us more!

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    mike ashworth says:

    I think that if the state is safe to reopen, our elected officials should be brought back in session. I always find it amazing that those that make the laws chose to exempt themselves from them. The legislature is out of session until June as it was unsafe to return before then. Why are they different from any other Tennessean? Especially those that have been so vocal about reopening the state.

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    James White says:

    ” Lee also pointed to the unsettling economic reality COVID-19 has created in our state. ” nope, me thinks is was #LeeTheTyrant and his violation of the Tennessee Constitution.

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      MARLE says:

      He’s just been following the months-long suggestions put out by Trump’s bureaucratic Hacks, Fauci and Birx. Lee has simply been a faithful adherent to the Trump doctrines as put forth by his Brilliant Experts from the NIH and CDC

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    MARLE says:

    Be sure to read the link to Guidelines for Restaurant openings at half-capacity : Paragraph 7 of the Release statement in quotes.

    Under Header………..”Screen customers for illness upon their entry into the restaurant:”
    They are supposed to take temperatures of patrons (aren’t you supposed to be the Most Contagious 48 hrs Before symptoms show up) and ask them questions about how they are feeling and about the health status of contacts.

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      LeeAnn C. says:

      Thus most restaurants in our area are NOT opening. This is a sham…a show so Gov. Lee can brag that he reopened businesses when he really isn’t. I don’t know if he lied when campaigning on a limited government platform or has lost his mind. Tennessee blissfully has not had horrid mortality rates due to the virus. The stats we have are exaggerated. Hoards at Walmart without a temp check and interview at the door, but to dine with a half empty restaurant you’ve got to do this?

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    Arnold Tayes says:

    What about Barber and beauty shops?

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      MARLE says:

      Oh, there’s quite a lot about all types of businesses. Lots of Guidelines. Click that link in para 7

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        James White says:

        Best practice: Temperature checks for every customer. Customers with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on premise
        I am not sure I want their nasty hands or thermometer touching me

        • Avatar
          MARLE says:

          And since the “Trump Experts” Fauci and Birx say that you are Most contagious 48 hrs Prior to symptoms how does a Temperature Check accomplish reducing spread by those Most contagious?

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    Phil Lassiter says:

    This article has nothing to do with the terrorist attack at Pilot Oil

    • Avatar
      James White says:

      This article has nothing to do with the Dangerous calls for a Constitutional Convention.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Nor does it even obliquely address the genocidal murder of Caucasian farmers in South Africa which could use a little more publicity.

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          Donna Locke says:

          Or how great it is that the country radio station out of Lawrenceburg throws in Percy Sledge and the Big Bopper. Sledge was from right over the state line there, in Alabama.

          Anyway, my county has had about 35 virus cases and holding for a number of days now, so I would not feel very unsafe in a restaurant here. Unfortunately, one would be pushing one’s luck in a number of other counties that are being allowed to reopen. I feel no urge to go to a restaurant at present, so I will continue to peruse the pantry and the huge sacks of beans my daughter mailed up here.

        • Avatar
          Eddie White says:

          This article also does not address the new Fox News polls this week that shows Joe Biden leading Trump in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Change is a comin…

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            It’s all good Eddie so long as you have an ample supply of your medication handy when on the evening of November 3rd you’re disappointed AGAIN.

          • Avatar
            Eddie White says:

            Certainly not a change I want, but it is a change that happens when the Democrats are united and have a good candidate to offer. It was refreshing while it lasted.

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            MARLE says:

            Joe Biden,,,,,,A good candidate? omg

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            “. . .when the Democrats. . .have a good candidate to offer.” Are you talking about Joe Biden who is corrupt, who shows unmistakable signs of dementia so that his handlers have to keep him away from the press and public appearances, who has been forced to take wacky policy positions of the “Green New Deal,” who spent his yeas in the Senate as a shill for credit card industry, is that the “good candidate” you are talking about?

            Eddie do you have any idea what the Republicans are going to do with old Joe once the campaign starts? Please Eddie, if these early polls aggravate you I suggest you stop reading them because THEY ARE MEANINGLESS. There are simply more visceral Democrats than Republicans in Michigan and Pennsylvania so they most frequently lead in early polls and Florida as usual is within the margin or error. Let’s concentrate on getting Timothy Hill or another conservative nominated in the First in August and forget the Presidential race, at least for now.

          • Avatar
            Eddie White says:

            Well, I’m quarantined on a rainy day in Wilson County, so I will take the time to reply. The reality is this, the race in the 1st District won’t make a damn difference. There are 16 conservative Republicans running and one is guaranteed to win. The Republicans could run a monkey and win that district. Whoever wins will make little impact on policy. The future of conservatism is housed in the White House and to a lesser degree in the senate. A number of years ago, the voters in Tennessee voted by an 80 percent majority to amend our state constitution to require marriage to be between a man and a woman. A pretty conservative idea I think. In one day with 5 votes the Supreme Court washed that vote away. Supreme Court nominees, nominated by the President and confirmed by the senate will have much more to do with the conservative/liberal direction of the country than any election in the 1st district. I am sure to some folks like James White it does not matter who is in the White House. But to most conservatives, it matters. So kudos to the Democrats for getting their act together and realizing the real prize is the White House.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Sorry Eddie there are sixteen nominal REPUBLICANS running in the First District’s primary that is true, but surely we are not suddenly going to conflate “Republican,” a party controlled by the Chamber of Commerce, Business Round Table, et al. with “conservative.” This is especially true just after President Blow Hard, after announcing his big immigration limitation executive order due to the America’s burgeoning unemployment, issued an order limiting immigration by perhaps 5% thanks the bigwigs in the aforementioned groups and their grip on the Republican Party. In the First Dist. Republican primary of the sixteen there are three candidates with a proven public conservative record, Rusty Crowe (ACU-83%) who at 73 is too old, David Hawk (ACU-89%) and Timothy Hill (ACU-88%) who received the endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus and is the most reliable conservative of the three.

            There is nothing you and I can do about the Presidential race. Of course, we’ll vote for Trump and he is going to carry Tennessee. As for money, Trump may win or he may lose, but if he loses, it won’t be because of lack of money. On the other hand, the First District race is up for grabs and in a sixteen candidate race money is all important and, as you say, the Republican nominee will surely win. That is a race that per unit of time spent or dollar contributed you and I can have the most effect. By all means, wear your MAGA hat and shirt, and put a MAGA sticker on your car or sign in your yard, but from Wilson County, if you have a spare dollar or two in your checking account you cannot have more effect on the future in this election than to send it to Timothy in Blountville, Tennessee.

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            James White says:

            Well Eddie, it is true that I don’t think it matters too much who is in the White House.
            I would like to see more constitutionalists elected to congress, the House specifically. I would like them to use the constitution as intended and control both the President and the Courts. They have the power to not fund anything, no matter what the president wants. They have the power to limit the jurisdiction of the courts so they can not rule on most of the garbage that they do. They should and could abolish some or most or all of the lower courts and thus limit the SCOTUS.
            But, there are none running for congress that are constitutionalists in the 1st district.
            We need more Thomas Massey’s.

          • Avatar
            Donna Locke says:

            Eddie, civil rights are not supposed to be up for vote in our constitutional republic. That is something the U.S. Supreme Court made clear. You are referring to civil rights that were finally recognized but had been there all along. As I’ve remarked, no one will return to the bondages of the past.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Sorry Donna, unlike the U.K. we have a written constitution so our “civil rights” are WRITTEN therein in black and white. Unfortunately, the left wants to aggrandize power in the government and the written constitution stands in their way so when the voters make the mistake of electing leftists who will put other leftists on the Court the court makes believe that we don’t have a written constitution and makes up “civil rights” that they believe should be there, e.g. the “right” of two people of the same sex to marry. which isn’t there now and certainly wasn’t there all along.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            Is there a “black and white” mention in the Constitution of the Federal government guaranteeing the “right” of Anyone to marry, Stuart?

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Not in the federal constitution so marriage was something that was left to the states and wasn’t a federal question in regard to which the U. S. Supreme Court had jurisdiction in the first place. Many state constitutions, once the weird idea of “marriage” between other than a man and a woman was suggested, included a provision specifically defining marriage the way it had been understood for a couple of thousand years usually by a vote of an overwhelming majority of citizens.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            That’s correct, Stuart. It isn’t in black and white that ANY specific gender or race or whatever can marry via Constitutionally spelled out rights. So the Constitution does NOT say in black and white that men and women are guaranteed the right to marry each other.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            The federal constitution does not address itself to the question at all because the power over marriage was not delegated to the federal government so it is not a matter toward which any branch of the federal government may involve itself under our federal form of government properly understood. Thus, it is an object to which the states have, in the words of Federalist #39, “residuary and inviolable sovereignty.”

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            Stuart, you wrote: ‘ The Left…..makes up “civil rights” that they believe should be there, e.g. the “right” of two people of the same sex to marry.’

            AS IF the right of heterosexuals to marry WAS a civil right enumerated in the constitution. NEITHER is in the constitution so it seemed odd that you’d single out the gay marriage, rather than ANY marriage, as not being covered as a Civil Right.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            This can be understood by the sequence of the matter being broached and the discussion that ensued. Eddie indicated that this presidential election is of paramount importance because of the power in Supreme Court appointments using the sudden mandating of homosexual marriage as an example. Donna introduced the novel observation of how homosexual marriage was always a right apparently embedded in the constitution, it just required discovery by the Supreme Discoverers on the Court. I was trying to convince Donna that there was no such thing as “embedded rights” in a written constitution.

            Thus, I wasn’t singling out anything. I was simply addressing myself to the narrow, and I believe gravely mistaken, concept of constitutional law that Donna expressed. Marriage isn’t addressed in the U. S. Constitution nor should it be because under our federal system it is a state matter. Under the Tennessee constitution I believe marriage is defined as legal contract taking place between a man and a woman because that’s how it is regarded by a vast majority of Tennesseans. That’s precisely the way democracy should work.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            Trying to educate the uneducable, Stuart? Aren’t you feeling all Herculean and at the same time Quixotic tilting at windmills on this rainy TN afternoon?

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Of course I do MARLE, but much as the missionaries assigned to convert the natives in the darkest parts of Africa, I know I burden under a noble calling so I am determined to plod on and hope for a better day, if not for me, for those who come after.

          • Avatar
            Donna Locke says:

            Stuart, people have equal protection under our Constitution and cannot–for no good, common-welfare reason–be shut out of a right or privilege that others have. Marriage is a civil issue in our country. But the history of marriage clearly shows its purpose was subjugation of women and girls. Females as property. Today it is a civil legal matter pertaining to shared material property, taxand inheritance issues, Social Security benefits, next of kin, etc. It is not a religious issue under the law. People may want to imbue marriage with religious overtones and can do so in their private lives, but under the law, marriage is a civil issue with no religious stuff attached to it, except that religious ministers are among those allowed to perform the ceremonies.

            People, regardless of gender, who are of age have the right to marry and have the civil benefits that are attached to marriage under the law. This cannot be denied under our Constitution because we are equally protected and cannot be shut out of a basic right that others have. Marriage partnerships between people of the same apparent gender does not affect your life in the least. There is no constitutional reason to deny it. Civil rights issues trump state and local laws, so such infringing laws get blown up in court.

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            Donna Locke says:

            Once again, civil rights have been there all along under our Constitution, but are often late in being recognized and protected. You cannot legally bind and control others’ existences and actions in this country without proving good, common-welfare reasons for doing so by law. Outside common-welfare/justice bounds, we are a free people.

            There will never be a shortage of people bent on minding other people’s business. We have laws to protect us from this.

          • Avatar
            Donna Locke says:

            What other contracts would you deny others the right to enter into?

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            MARLE says:

            Marriage being a “civil union” I am sure we would want to extend this right to Every one who wants to enter into that union. Son and father, who want the full right to inherit without limitation, would be able to get married. Any set of 2 (not sure why it would be limited to only 2) people who were willing to accept the legal liabilities and obligations could get married.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Of course, when there is an extra-legal agenda in play the liberals on the Court always can be relied on to use their word gymnastics to find a constitutional basis to further that agenda. For example, civil unions were afforded homosexuals in order to allow them many of the benefits afforded to married couples and the trend was to allow them more benefits as time went on. Of course, that was never enough for homosexuals because the agenda was, and is to this day, the demand that homosexuality be regarded as “normal,” which of course it is not, anymore than a man becomes a woman or vice-versa simply by declaring themselves to be such. Indeed, liberalism is at its core is nothing more than a bizarre religion requiring individuals not to notice what is in front of their eyes lest it causes them to draw the wrong conclusions.

            There is nothing in the constitution that forbids a state to continue to set aside a venerable institution for certain individuals so long as in doing so they don’t deprive other individuals of rights and benefits without a compelling reason. Civil unions satisfy that requirement to all but extreme advocates of homosexual norming and the courts could have simply opened them up to more marital rights and privileges, but of course, that wasn’t the agenda was it?

            We continue to be badgered by liberals who, failing to get their way at the ballot box, rely on the Supreme Court to give them their way by conjuring up legal doctrines whole cloth so that in many ways this country is ruled by a committee of five justices on the Court. That’s why no matter how substandard the Republican candidate happens to be conservatives are compelled to vote Republican in all federal elections because our democracy and freedoms slip further away every time the liberals win.

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            MARLE says:

            I don’t know what contracts you want to deny others, Stuart. But I do know that gays want to deny marriage or civil union options to other people who wish to enter into those unions accepting all the obligations and liabilities along with the benefits. A son and father should have the same rights as 2 gay men to form these contracts but gays are opposed to extending marriage or civil union rights to them. Hypocrites.

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          Phil Lassiter says:

          Hell yes. I’ve been saying that for years

          • Avatar
            Phil Lassiter says:

            Joe is an excellent alternative to Trump in this pandemic age. We need more stimulus and Joe will provide it on a regular basis

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            So far we have a $5 trillion deficit in the pipeline to add to our already $21 trillion deficit and that’s not quite enough for you. You want “more” and “on a regular basis.” Well Phil, you are a liberal and Joe (or whoever is around to move his hand) is definitely the man for you. Thankfully your vote will count for nothing in Tennessee, but it’s your kids and grandkids who will be paying the bill so please don’t forget to tell them “thanks.”

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Obeying your OATH to the Tennessee Constitution should be your #1 priority. Mr. #LeeTheTyrant

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  • Avatar
    Eddie White says:

    If you have ever wondered how conservatives win battles, but lose the war….

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      With the entire educational establishment, the overwhelming majority of the media and members of the boards and management of our biggest corporations, as well as the vast majority of members of the bloated permanent government bureaucracy all confirmed liberals, it is a wonder that conservatives win any battles, to say nothing of the war.

  • Avatar
    Phil Lassiter says:

    Have to allow pets occasional victories while training them if you want loyalty. Nothing that will draw blood, but feel good language allowed in legislation.

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