Tuesday, Governor Bill Lee announced the end of statewide public health orders and signed Executive Order 80 to address economic and regulatory functions.
EO 80 also ends the local authority to issue mask requirements in the 89 counties directed by the state health department. The new order also states that, as of Thursday, April 29th, local government bodies “no longer have authority to conduct meetings electronically” as they had under previous orders.
“COVID-19 is now a managed public health issue in Tennessee and no longer a statewide public health emergency,” Lee said in making his announcement. “As Tennesseans continue to get vaccinated, it’s time to lift remaining local restrictions, focus on economic recovery and get back to business in Tennessee.”
Executive Order 80 contains is effective through May 31st.
While Tennessee has never had a statewide mask mandate, the new order removes the local authority for county mayors in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to require face coverings throughout their jurisdictions. Lee has also requested that counties with independent health departments–Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan–that have remaining business restrictions or mask requirements to lift all measures no later than May 30.
In addition to the new order, the following provisions are effective immediately:
Offering Walk-Up Vaccine Option
While the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be available to Tennesseans aged 16 and older by appointment, local health departments will now offer a walk-up option.
Retiring Optional Business Guidance
The Tennessee Pledge business guidelines issued at the start of COVID-19 have been officially retired.