Stay-at-Home Order: How will it be enforced?

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Gov. Bill Lee’s stay-at-home order left many wondering what exactly they are allowed to do while the order is in place.

We went to law enforcement and city officials with your questions and learned what exactly you can and cannot do, under the order.

Many people have come to us with questions about what exactly they can and cannot do under the stay-at-home order. For starters, some employers have issued letters, in the event they get stopped by law enforcement to see where they are headed. However, law enforcement said this is just a rumor and they will not be making traffic stops to ensure you have one.

“If a company wants to issue a letter to their employees, that’s fine. That’s their business, not mine,” Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said.

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

Lunceford says his department will not stop residents unless necessary.

“We need to be careful when we start dealing with people’s freedoms and start trying to close down free movement and access within access of the United States of America. That’s my opinion,” Sheriff Lunceford said.

However, if residents are seen violating social distancing guidelines, there could be consequences.

“It falls under a misdemeanor of violation and you could be issued a citation to violate the order, but we’re not out there pulling people over and checking for letters and ID,” Sheriff Lunceford said.

Carter County has been under a safer at home directive since April 1. Sheriff Lunceford commends residents on following these guidelines.

“We need to be level-headed and we need to just calm down here. Everybody does. Take a deep breath. Think about what we’re doing,” Lunceford said.

Johnson City officials advise to get out and be active responsibly.

“In essence, anyone can leave their house.” Johnson City City Manager Pete Peterson said, “Take a walk, take a run, take a bike ride, walk your dog, mow the grass, doing things around your home. We actually encourage people to do that, in order to maintain a good sense of physical, as well as mental health.”

All 56 parks in Tennessee will be closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, starting April 4, however, some trails like the Tweetsie Trail and other Johnson City Parks are open.

“Get out and enjoy this nice sunny day, but just keep your distance from other people because you certainly wouldn’t want to be a carrier and spread it to someone else, no more than you would want to receive the virus from another person you came in contact with,” Peterson said. “Please, we can’t emphasize enough. Practice social distancing. Don’t gather in clusters are you begin an activity. Don’t park close to one another.”

Peterson said businesses deemed essential must also follow CDC guidelines.

Peterson said, “Very, very frequently wipe down surfaces and to maintain a surface area at all locations within their business, and to dileniate on their floor spacing that represents six or eight feet separation between individuals.”

Peterson added city services have been minimally impacted, so there will not be any changes to water, sewer and public works. They ask that you either contact them electronically or come to the side of the building for assistance.

Johnson City stay-at-home orders can be found here.

Carter County stay-at-home orders can be found here.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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