What is considered ‘essential activity’ under Gov. Bill Lee’s stay-at-home order?

Local Coronavirus Coverage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order on Thursday directing Tennesseans to stay home unless engaging in “essential activity” or “essential services” in order to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The governor’s latest executive order updates a previous order signed on Monday that “urged” citizens to stay home. It also mandated that “businesses or organizations that do not perform Essential Services shall not be open for access or use by the public or its members.” Those businesses are encouraged to provide delivery, curbside service, etc.

RELATED » Gov. Lee to order Tennesseans to stay home unless carrying out ‘essential activities’

But what does essential activity mean? Which services are considered essential? What is essential travel?

Essential Activity

According to Lee’s executive order, essential activity means:

  • Engaging in activities essential to a person’s health and safety or the health and safety of family or household members, persons who are unable or should not leave their home, or pets, including, but not limited to, seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or assistance, obtaining medication, obtaining non-elective medical care or treatment or other similar vital services, or visiting a health care professional;
  • Obtaining necessary services or supplies for persons and their family or household members, persons who are unable or should not leave their home, or pets or delivering those services or supplies to others, including, but not limited to, groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies required to work from home, automobile supplies (including dealers, parts, supplies, repair, and maintenance), and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
  • Providing, facilitating, or receiving delivery or curbside carry-out delivery of online or telephone orders from businesses or organizations that do not perform or are not necessary for the performance of Essential Activity;
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided that persons the Health Guidelines to the greatest extent practicable, including, but not limited to, driving or riding in a vehicle, walking, hiking, running, biking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, golf, tennis, or other sports or recreational activities that can be performed while maintaining the aforementioned precautions or utilizing public parks and outdoor recreation areas; provided, however, that congregating or playing on
    playgrounds presents a unique risk for the spread of COVID-19 and is therefore not covered as an Essential Activity;
  • Caring for or visiting a family member, friend, or pet in another household, or transporting or traveling with family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Order; provided, that the Health Guidelines are followed to the greatest extent practicable;
  • Visiting a place of worship or attending a wedding or funeral; provided, that the Health Guidelines are followed to the greatest extent practicable. However, it is strongly encouraged that the public celebration component of weddings and funerals be postponed or attended only by close family members; or
  • Engaging in Essential Travel, as defined below.

Essential Travel

The governor’s executive order defines essential travel as:

  • Travel related to Essential Activity or otherwise permitted by this Order;
  • Travel related to performing Essential Services;
  • Travel to care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons;
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  • Travel to and from outside of the State of Tennessee; or
  • Travel required by law, law enforcement, or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.

Essential Services

The governor’s executive order defines essential services as personnel identified on pages 5-15 of the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response issued by Homeland Security. View the PDF below.

(Don’t see PDF? Click here to view.)

Lee’s order further defines essential services listed in the PDF below.

(Don’t see PDF? Click here to view.)

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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