In anticipation of the reopening of attractions and large venues on Friday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a new executive order Thursday to allow gatherings of up to 50 people, up from the previous limit of 10, throughout Tennessee.
"While this number has increased, we want to remind everybody — the reason that we have gotten here is because Tennesseans have been committed to social distancing," Lee said. "We can lift restrictions and open up our economy, but we can never forget that social distancing continues to mitigate the spread of this virus, which still exists in our communities. It still exists in our state. It's a public health threat, and we remember that as we go out, as we gather."
Tennessee now sits somewhere between phase one and two of the three-phased Opening America Up Again plan from the White House. A full list of the recommended reopening guidelines from the state can be found within Lee's Tennessee Pledge document.
Lee also said Thursday that he expects schools to open in the fall, a statement following the release of CDC guidelines for schools earlier this week. The state has yet to release guidance for schools or official statements encouraging the reopening of schools in the fall.
The Tennessee Department of Health reported 18,961 total cases of COVID-19 statewide as of 2 p.m. Thursday, representing a 429-case increase since Wednesday with four new deaths. Three new cases were reported in Williamson County, bringing the total to 491.