Tennessee Capitol complex to close doors to public

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his second State of the State address in Nashville on Feb. 3, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Tennessee Capitol and legislative office complex will be off limits to the public starting on Monday amid the spread of the coronavirus.

“COVID-19 is an evolving situation but we urge vulnerable populations, including those over age 60 and with chronic medical conditions to limit participation in mass gatherings and to take extra precautions for personal well-being like increased hand-washing,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a statement. “With 26 confirmed cases in our state, we have issued further guidance to help communities mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Here’s a joint statement from House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Senate Speaker Randy McNally:

Governor Lee continues to take a thoughtful approach to containing the possible spread of COVID-19. We applaud his steps to better protect the public’s health. Beginning Monday, March 16, we will limit access to the Cordell Hull Building out of an abundance of caution. Access is prohibited to everyone except elected members, staff and members of the media until further notice. However, the citizens of Tennessee will still be able to access the work they have elected us to do through the livestreaming services available on our website.

We must take any and all reasonable steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is imperative the public’s health be prioritized and economic disruption minimized. We will continue to evaluate this situation, remain in contact with Governor Lee, the state’s health leaders, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to determine whether additional action is needed.

The governor’s office also gave the following guidance:

Mass Gatherings

Heading into the weekend, many Tennesseans will be making decisions regarding faith gatherings and church attendance. Congregations and groups are urged to consider alternatives to traditional services by utilizing livestreams, pre-recorded messages and other electronic means. 

While at this time, mass gatherings such as conferences or other large social events remain at the discretion of the organizer, we strongly discourage events of 250 people or more as an important step in limiting exposure to COVID-19. 


At this time, school districts have been advised to exercise discretion when canceling school for K-12 students. The state will provide further support for districts pursuing this action but urge districts to consider the prevalence of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their area. In partnership with districts, students who depend on school-provided meals will still receive this support, regardless of school closure.

State Employees, Business Travel 

Effective immediately, state employees who have been trained and certified to work from home within the state’s Alternative Workplace Solutions (AWS) program will work from home through March 31, 2020. Approximately 11,000 state employees are certified AWS employees and can begin work from home with no disruption to state business. 

Effective immediately, state employees have been instructed to cease all non-essential business travel through March 31, 2020. 

Tennessee State Capitol Closed to Visitors

The Tennessee State Capitol is closed to tours and visitors through March 31, 2020. Members of the media will continue to have access to the State Capitol building. 


6 Responses to Tennessee Capitol complex to close doors to public

  • Avatar
    Bob says:

    If the public is shut out, the lobbyist should not be allowed either.

  • Avatar
    Elmore says:

    Then they need to shut down all debates and votes and go to the house if we can’t be there to watch the scallywags.

  • Avatar
    Eddie White says:

    Put me down as one 60 year old male who plans to be at worship Sunday morning. Fortunately my church is continuing worship services. Instead of cancelling services, the church is providing a protocol that involves reduced human contact during worship.

  • Avatar
    MARLE says:

    New Expanded testing protocols announced today by White House

    Stats in China/S Korea showed that 95% of those tested with upper respiratory symptoms had some OTHER virus (like our flu) and 5% had corona. Buy our flu kills by the 10’s of Thousands so………

    I assume that next flu season, and every year thereafter, we will want to shut down all church attendance, flights, cruises, Sporting events, conferences, etc because we know that distancing and quarantine work to stop the spread of ALL Deadly, killer flu viruses like the ones we have annually.

    We now have the formula for limiting death and destruction; we no longer have to tolerate our fellow Americans dying in such great numbers. Shut everything down and instead of losing 70 thousand as we did in 2018 we can drastically mitigate this outrageous carnage.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    sine die

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *