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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs Executive Order 17: suspends in-person dining, closes gyms, takes other measures to slow coronavirus spread

Businesses are required to exclusively use drive-through, take-out or delivery options. More measures were also taken to protect people at-risk of COVID-19.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 on Sunday, which calls for businesses across the state to use alternative business models and adds new regulations to protect people at-risk of COVID-19. It goes into effect at midnight, March 23, and lasts until April 6.

The order requires businesses to exclusively use drive-through, take-out or delivery options if they are able to. The executive order also allows establishments to sell alcohol in closed containers by take-out or delivery, with the purchase of food.

Gyms and exercise centers will also temporarily close and suspend in-person services.

Lee also prohibited more than 10 people from gathering in one place, in the executive order. It also encouraged people to spend time with loved ones through electronic and virtual communication methods, instead of in-person.

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Executive Order 17 also adds more measures to protect people at-risk for catching coronavirus. Visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes and long-term care facilities are limited to visits for essential care only.

It also encourages businesses to take steps to protect vulnerable people, such as implementing shopping hours exclusively for them.

The executive order comes after a group of Tennessee physicians requested that Governor Lee implement a stay-at-home order, starting Sunday.

"I urge every Tennessean to take these actions seriously," Lee said. "Our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19."

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