27 Apr Updated Guidance for Tennessee Businesses and Residents in Light of the COVID-19Pandemic
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has released new guidance for businesses and individuals to follow as the state moves to reopen its economy in phases. The Tennessee Supreme Court also extended its order altering court proceedings.
Governor Lee’s Guidance: Tennessee Pledge
Governor Lee announced this week that the Safer at Home order will be expiring on April 30. He also announced a reopening plan recommended by the Economic Recovery Group for 89 counties (Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties will establish their own plans). A summary is available here and the full document is available here.
Beginning Monday, April 27, restaurants may reopen for on-site dining if they follow the Economic Recovery Group Guidelines. This does not apply to bars and nightclubs, which should remain closed. Similarly, retail stores may open Wednesday, April 29 at 50% capacity.
Businesses that reopen must comply with the guidelines. The guidelines include measures such as: screen employees and customers for COVID-19 symptoms, implement cleaning and disinfection practices, implement social distancing guidelines by limiting capacity and spacing customers at least six feet apart, post signage about policies and best practices, provide ServSafe COVID-19 training for all food handlers as soon as possible, provide dedicated personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves to employees, provide extra hand washing stations and hand sanitizer, and encourage shopping options that provide for no contact or limited contact between individuals. This is not an exhaustive list and you should review the guidelines in full here. Guidance for restaurants is available here, and guidance for retail stores is available here.
Tennessee Supreme Court Order
On Friday, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order extending the limitation of in-person court proceedings through May 31. While access to the courts is limited and is altered, the courts remain open. Attorneys can also utilize remote witnessing and notarization of documents to assist clients with estate planning or other needs without in-person interactions.
Local districts may submit plans to permit more in-person court proceedings, but they must be approved before implementation. Some courts are holding hearings via telephone and video conferencing, but some matters are being continued. Urgent matters that require an appearance are being handled utilizing social distancing and limited access to courtrooms.
Orders of protection and temporary injunctions that are set to expire between March 13 and May 31 are extended until June 5. Finally, there will be no jury trials, with limited exceptions, through July 3. More information about the Supreme Court’s order can be found here. If you have an active case in Tennessee, you should contact your attorney to determine how the Supreme Court’s order will affect your case.