CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Montgomery County and Clarksville City governments extended for a fourth consecutive week the Emergency and Executive orders directing citizens to practice social distancing and shelter at home except when engaging in essential activities or services.
The direct orders sustain coordinated local actions taken March 31 to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The orders will remain in effect through 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, April 29.
However, on Monday, Gov. Bill Lee Gov. announced the state order for Tennesseans to remain at home will expire April 30, 2020. The vast majority of businesses in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, including Montgomery County, will be allowed to reopen on May 1, with some slated to open on Monday, April 27.
Mayor Joe Pitts said he and Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett have met several times this week to work on plans for the phased reopening of commercial activity in Clarksville-Montgomery County.
“We’re meeting to make our plans, awaiting further guidance from the Governor, and we’re looking at data on the spread of the virus,” Mayor Pitts said. “We can ask the Council to come back and provide specific guidance to local businesses as we know more.”
Under the order extended Tuesday, essential activities and services such as healthcare, public safety, utilities, government, communications and media, banking, food production and distribution, vehicles, fuel and support, and many manufacturing facilities remain open.
But all gatherings are still strongly discouraged, and those with more than 10 people are strictly prohibited. Gatherings include any event unrelated to essential services that brings together groups of people, such as church services and sporting events.
The Lee Administration is working directly with local officials and health departments in six Tennessee’s metropolitan areas that have local health departments -- Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan counties -- as they plan their re-open strategies.
The Economic Recovery Group (ERG), composed of 30 leaders from the public and private sector is crafting guidance to assist businesses in a safe reopening. The industry representatives participating in the ERG collectively represent over 140,000 Tennessee businesses that employ over 2.5M Tennesseans.
Clarksville City Council members met in a video conference Tuesday to approve unanimously for the fourth time a resolution to extend Mayor Joe Pitts’ Executive Order No. 3.
People who violate the orders could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and would be subject to citation and fines for each offense, and even arrest if necessary.
On Tuesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 7,394 cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 137 reported deaths from the illness. TDH said Montgomery County had 124 cases with two reported deaths.
Clarksville Police are staffing a dedicated number, (931) 472-3600, for all general questions and information requests, including questions about provisions of the COVID-19 Emergency and Executive Orders.
Residents still should dial 9-1-1 for all emergency calls, requests for police officer response and to file a police report. Citizens also should call 9-1-1 with reports of businesses not closing and possibly violating provisions of the Executive Orders.
Earlier Tuesday, County Mayor Jim Durrett signed Emergency Executive Order No. 7 to extend his declaration of the State of Emergency allowed under state law that went into effect March 17 as well as existing subsequent County Emergency Executive Orders No. 1-6. The County order will remain in effect until April 29, when a decision to extend the orders will be made based on evaluation of information from the White House, the State of Tennessee and local healthcare professionals.
In Mayor Pitts’ Executive Order No. 3, a long list of businesses are ordered closed, including hospitality, educational and entertainment venues. Personal contact businesses, including hair, nail, massage, tattoo, tanning and waxing salons are directed to close.
Online activities and deliveries through many businesses may continue. And previous mandates about restaurants restricting food sales to drive-through and take out operations remain in place.
In earlier rounds of coordinated orders during the COVID-19 emergency, Mayors Durrett and Pitts incorporated the major provisions of Gov. Bill Lee’s executive orders.
‘We are well-aware that Gov. Lee’s stay-at-home order will be ending on April 30 and have been diligently working out a plan for Phase 1 of reopening,” Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett said. “Once we have all the information in place and the expectations are clear, it will be shared with the public. In the meantime, it is critical for businesses and individuals do their part to minimize the spread of the coronavirus so we can move forward.”
For information on the state and national response to COVID-19 and updates on working together to reduce infections, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html.
For a summary of the local “stay at home” order, visit https://bit.ly/2USQeSC.
For the Mayor’s and Governor’s Executive orders, visit https://bit.ly/2JLMxci.