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Calls remain for Tennessee governor to issue ‘shelter-in-place’ order


Passionate voices are still urging Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to issue a ‘shelter-in-place’ order because of COVID-19.

It comes after the governor issued Monday what he called a ‘safer-at-home’ order without a mandate.

“We need a ‘shelter-in-place’ order that is enforceable,” said Representative Mike Stewart who is chair of the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus.

“We have to have a mandate,” said Williamson County pulmonary critical care physician Dr. Aaron Milstone.

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Bill Lee said there’s a critical balance to maintain about people staying at home.

He addressed it in Monday’s order that also closed what he termed “non-essential” businesses in the COVID-19 fight that includes entertainment venues and gyms.

“This is not a mandated ‘shelter-in-place’ order because it’s deeply important to me we remain a state that protects personal liberties, but this is a strong urging for Tennesseans to stay at home when at all possible.”

Dr. Milstone has been among a large group of health providers pleading with Governor Lee for a firm statewide ‘shelter-in-place’ order.

“Multiple health experts have deemed a statewide order essential if Tennessee is going to save lives, mitigating the strain on our hospital system and on medical equipment supplies,” said Dr. Milstone shortly after the governor issued his order.

The governor has said in his daily briefings that large urban areas of the state were essentially shut down after various local government orders, but legislative Democrats like Mike Stewart think the COVID-19 response from the governor has been slow and muddled.

“We need to have a clear plan for testing. We need to have a clear plan for people who have coronavirus treated, for protecting our health care workers, for ‘shelter-in-place,’ we have none of those things now,” said Rep. Stewart on Tuesday.

Handling a crisis is what governors sign up to do, but no one imagined it would be COVID-19.

The governor has not said if he would use law enforcement for some of his orders.