Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tennessee shut down, tonight through April 14th. See Gov. Bill Lee COVID-19 Bulletin 9:

Press release, March 31, 2020  - Today, Governor Bill Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts regarding COVID-19 relief. Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed live each day this week at 3 p.m. CDT here. Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

Key Updates

Statewide Safe at Home Order
Tonight at 11:59 p.m. the statewide safer at home order begins which restricts businesses that cannot possibly safely operate during COVID-19. Businesses like barber shops, salons, recreational and entertainment outfits are to remain closed until April 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

The order, at the same time, provides for the continuation of essential businesses throughout every county. More information regarding essential businesses is available here. Tennesseans in non-essential roles are urged to stay at home during this time.

PPE Procurement and Distribution
25 companies and universities have made significant donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the State of Tennessee to assist health care workers and those on the front lines

These donations, in conjunction with the aggressive supply procurement of Unified-Command has enabled the administration to connect with all 95 counties, assess needs and mobilize supplies.

Companies and non-profits who are ready to help with supplies and other innovations are urged to contact Launch Tennessee. Since the announcement yesterday, Unified Command’s partnership with Launch Tennessee has already netted 100 companies who are willing to get to work in fighting this pandemic.

Data Communication

Unified Command in conjunction with the Department of Health will be releasing three new numbers in the daily reporting: negative results by county, projected number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and deaths identified by county. This information is available here.

Administration Actions

Mental Health Support
To serve individuals who need professional behavioral health help during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennessee’s behavioral health providers and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services have been working closely over recent weeks to ensure seamless delivery of services.

These groups have been working to expand telehealth services, implement daily conference calls to address needs as they arise, and increase collaboration to procure necessary PPE for front-line mental health workers who continue to interface with patients.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Tennessee a grant to provide mobile behavioral health care units for rural counties in East and West Tennessee. These mobile units will expand services Tennessee provides through partnerships with non-profits.

Tennessee’s front-line crisis services system is well-equipped to meet the needs of Tennesseans. Available resources include a 24-7 crisis phone line (855-CRISIS-1 or 855-274-7471), mobile crisis for both adults and children and youth, crisis walk-in centers, crisis stabilization units, and crisis respite.

To meet the ongoing/non-emergency mental health needs of Tennesseans who are uninsured and have no means to pay, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and 15 community behavioral health providers offer the Behavioral Health Safety Net which meets the essential mental health needs of Tennesseans 18 years of age and older who are at or below 138% Federal Poverty Level. These vital services are available in all 95 counties.


For more information on COVID-19 in Tennessee, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s website here.

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Mayor John Cooper delivers the 57th annual State of Metro Address, March 31, 2020.

The Honorable John Cooper, Mayor of Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, presents the 57th State of Metro Address from the David Scobey Council Chamber of the Historic Metro Courthouse. Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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Mayor John Cooper’s Office Releases Travel Alert Issued by State Department

Metro press release, 3/19/2020-  Mayor John Cooper’s office today released a travel alert issued by the U.S. Department of State:

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.

You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

  • Consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available.
  • Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.
  • Review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.
  • Check with your airline, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
  • Visit our Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States
  • Visit Keeping workplaces, homes, schools, or commercial establishments safe.

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Big property tax increase on the way! STATE OF METRO: Nashville Mayor John Cooper gives the State of Metro address as the city deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

STATE OF METRO: Nashville Mayor John Cooper gives the State of Metro address as the city deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live now 10:51Am. Follow this link

These are my spontaneous notes as the mayor speaks. 

The mayor says this is the worst crisis the city has ever faced.  We were already reeling from a budget that did not balance and a scramble to fix it.  On top of that we had the tornado that left 2200 people homeless. Now, the virus.  We still have the same problems of teacher shortage and need for improved transit and traffic and more sidewalks, ect, but now must deal with the crisis.

There is lot of help for those with needs, rent assistance, mortgage payment assistance other needs.  We have free virus testing. The community has responded. For help call the hotline. Testing is available. The city has responded well, helping those in need and with loses.

The financial disaster: We have no rainy day fund. The mayor rehashes the issue of the Comptroller calling metro's hand for a budget that didn't  balance and how we  balanced it.  I expected to be presenting a budget that addressed our plan to improve money management and to address our needs, says the mayor. Now however, we must shift some priorities.  We cannot delay, must invest to rebuild our city.  Unemployment going up; revenues fall. Revenue will  be down between 200 and 300 million dollars. Our first concern must be to continue to deliver essential services. No promotions or pay raises, delaying all non-essential spending. This still not enough. Just to stay even will require millions in savings and new revenues. Sales taxes are down. Music City Centre  is kicking in $30 more millions.  Still not enough. Must tap cash balances. We must raise taxes. We have to. It will be substantial.

We have to file an actual balanced budget. Has to be submitted next month with data available.  No other option. We can't borrow or print money.

( I was pulled away on crucial business and missed  the last few minutes.)

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to issue 'safer at home' order, close non-essential businesses

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to issue 'safer at home' order, close non-essential businesses

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75% of Vehicles Stolen Last Week Taken with Keys. Don't be an idiot! Don't leave keys in the car.

Metro press release, 3-25-2020 - A review of stolen vehicle reports in Nashville from Sunday, March 15 through Saturday, March 21, shows that 75% of the automobiles taken (39 of 52) were easy targets because the keys were left inside or made available to thieves.

Four of the 52 vehicles stolen were left running without the driver present. During this reporting time period, a total of ten guns were stolen during vehicle burglaries; five of those vehicles were left unlocked.

So far this year, at least 159 guns have been reported stolen from vehicles. The police department’s continuing PARK SMART campaign strongly urges citizens to lock their automobile doors, secure any valuables---including guns, and REMOVE THE KEYS.

Rod's comment: If you leave your car unlocked and your keys in the ignition or the keys over the sun visor, you are an idiot.  If your car is stolen, you will get no sympathy from me.

I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, but people who leave a gun in an unlocked car and then that gun is used to kill someone, should have some liability.

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Covid-19 testing centers to open in Nashville on Monday

Residents should first call assessment hotline; if determined necessary, they will be directed to centers for further assessment and possible testing

Metro Government press release, 3/30/2020 - The Metro COVID-19 Task Force, in partnership with area health care systems and medical colleges, will launch the COVID-19 Community Assessment System Monday, March 30.
The Community Assessment System includes the COVID-19 Hotline, which residents must first call to receive an initial assessment by a public health professional. Callers can also access recorded messages offering the latest information about COVID-19 and details about the Safer at Home Order. The Hotline number is 615-862-7777 and will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week in both Spanish and English.
If determined necessary during their COVID-19 Hotline assessment, residents will then be directed to visit a COVID-19 Community Assessment Center where they will be further screened and, if required, tested.
As part of the launch, the Task Force will open three Community Assessment Centers this week. The first two Centers will open at Nissan Stadium and Meharry Medical College on Monday, March 30; a third location will open on Wednesday, April 1 at the former Kmart in Antioch. Once open, all three centers will operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The centers will be located at:
Nissan Stadium (Opening March 30)
Lot “N”
1 Titans Way
Nashville, TN 37213
Meharry Medical College (Opening March 30)
918 21st Ave North
Nashville, TN 37208
Former Kmart (Opening April 1)
2491 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37217


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Saturday, March 28, 2020

57th Annual State of Metro Address, Tuesday 3-31-20120

The 57th Annual State of Metro address is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31st, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

In accordance with CDC protocols on gatherings and social distancing, the 2020 State of Metro address will be livestreamed on Metro Nashville Network, and audience access will be restricted only to program participants in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the media, elected officials, Metro department heads and employees, and the general public are encouraged to watch a livestream of the 2020 State of Metro Address via Metro Nashville Network:

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Friday, March 27, 2020

I may have been wrong. I am reviving my opinion.

by Rod Williams - I may have been wrong. I am reviving my opinion.

When this virus hit and it became clear that we were going to impose an economic shut down, I thought this is the end of life as we have know it. Businesses will close, never to reopen. Whole industries may close. I envisioned massive inflation. Real shortages would occur. I feared massive deaths, not from only the virus, but mostly from the economic collapse that would occur. As things deteriorated, I predicted roving bands of thugs or maybe private armies raping and pillaging and taking what they want. The government would have to impose martial law. As we barricaded ourselves in our dark homes and bartered for food, we would tremble in fear as the world around us collapsed. This was the apocalypse!

I though surely, I would find other wise voices that would confirm my evaluation. Well, no. A look at Forbes, Barons, WSJ, The Economist, National Review and other sources do not say it is going to be as bad as I said it would be. I assume they are better judges than I. Most say this could be as bad as the 2008 crisis. That was bad. If you recall the market was in free-fall. However, it did end and in a few years we recovered. If this is no worse than 2008, it is not the end of the world.

Other comparisons are to 9-11. We survived that.  A newsletter from National Review today quotes Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who says we’re getting the economic equivalent of a Hurricane Katrina, all around the country, simultaneously. That sounds pretty bad to me. That sounds like the sitting for the apocalypse. However, NR says, "Economic analysts are now looking past the current quarter projecting that the economy will shrink by 2 percent for the year — and that’s simply not knowing how quickly we can start the economic engine back up again."  Two percent shrinkage is not the end of the world.

The only people who were saying the same thing I was about how dire this was going to were Alex Jones and Lew Rockwell. That is not good company to be in, so while I still have my suspicions and fears that this may get real bad, I trust the opinion of WSJ, Barons, Forbes, and National Review more than I trust my own. So, I am falling in line with main stream responsible conservatives voices. My new view is that this may get bad, but it is not the end of the world.

I am pleased that Donald Trump is saying that he wants this to be over by Easter. Some are no doubt saying we need to listen to the health experts and stay in lock down mode as long as health care officials recommend it. We do need to listen to health experts but that is not the only experts from whom we need to here. I think Trump is right in saying the cure could be worse than the disease. We need to listen to health experts and economist and people who can see the big picture. This is a health crisis, but not only a health crisis.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

MNPS Hosting Virtual Town Hall, Answering Questions About Impact of COVID-19

From Metro Nashville Public Schools - The COVID-19 public health emergency has upended

everyone’s life. With schools closed until at least April 24, students, parents, teachers and school staff have questions about what it all means for classes, grades, tests, work schedules, high school graduation and more. The leadership of Metro Nashville Public Schools wants to provide answers.

With social distancing protocols still in place, MNPS will host a virtual town hall meeting from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, March 30, that will be available via livestream on the Metro Nashville Network. Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle and other MNPS leaders will answer questions from the Board Room.

Submit Your Questions 
Please submit your questions by 5 p.m. Friday, March 27 using this online form.

Questions will be reviewed for common themes and MNPS staff members will be on hand to address each topic.

Dawn Efionayi, a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School, will read the submitted questions aloud at the town hall. The event will not be open to the public to participate in person due to the need to limit large crowds.

“No one has ever been through anything like this before, so we understand the need to ask and answer questions about the impact this crisis is having on everyone,” Dr. Battle said.

“Our team hasn’t stopped working since schools closed, and we look forward to answering as many questions as we can Monday afternoon.”

COVID-19 updates
You can find Metro Schools updates on the COVID-19 resource page. The page includes information on things such as meal distribution, digital tools for students, links to community resources, blog posts and news for MNPS employees.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

City establishes Small Business Task Force to help small businesses hurt by COVID-19 and the tornadoes.

Metro press release- Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, in partnership with Mayor John Cooper and the Metro Council, has formed a Small Business Task Force to address the issues facing small businesses in Metro Nashville/Davidson County that have been affected by COVID-19 and the March 3rd tornadoes.
“While we take necessary steps to protect our population, the Metro Council, Mayor Cooper and I agree that we must quickly determine what we can do–short term and long term–to help small businesses,” Vice Mayor Jim Shulman stated. “The Task Force is expected to focus on establishing available federal, state, and privately-sourced small business assistance and to determine how best to obtain and distribute such assistance locally.”
The Task Force is chaired by Metro Councilmember At-Large Steve Glover and Community Leader Cristina Allen. The Task Force’s twenty-four (24) members represent the diversity of Nashville’s business environment, including hospitality, retail, services, construction, manufacturing, creative/music, healthcare, real estate, and finance. The Task Force will work to aid and assist small businesses with their financial stability. The plan will be finalized in mid-April. Visit the Small Business Task Force’s website for more information.
Metro Small Business Task Force:
  • David Andrews, Bakery
  • Andy Bhakta, Hotel
  • Chris Carter, Retail
  • Sam Davidson, Retail
  • Kamel Daouk, Real Estate
  • Bridgette Edwards, Fitness
  • Nancy Edwards, Manufacturing
  • David Fox, Financial
  • Santos Gonzalez, Broadcast and Real Estate
  • Don Hardin, Construction
  • Barrett Hobbs, Hospitality
  • Michael Johnson, Barber
  • Katie Lentile, Mayor’s Representative
  • Kathy Leslie, Restaurant
  • Andy Mumma, Restaurant
  • Elizabeth Murphy, Local Farmers
  • Josh Mundy, Dry Cleaners
  • Ashley Northington, Public Relations
  • John Ozier, Music
  • Mayur Patel, Grocery
  • Adam Saba, Grocery
  • Julia Sullivan, Restaurant
  • Deborah Varallo, Marketing/PR
  • Alex Vaughan, Retail
  • Sheri Weiner, Healthcare

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Metro closes dog parks and imposes other restrictions on park use.

Metro press release - While it is important for residents to have safe and viable recreational options, it also is a priority of Parks & Recreation to help flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, too many people are gathering in large groups at certain recreational facilities in the city.
Out of an abundance of caution and safety and with the guidance from the Metro Health Department, as of today (3/25), we are closing all playgrounds, dog parks, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic shelters, and skate parks.  These facilities will be closed to the public until further notice. Metro Parks and the Health Department discourages any type of activity that would negatively impact social distancing protocol.

Parks, greenways, trails and golf courses will remain open, however social distancing is expected and required.  Please note: golf club houses are closed, which means concessions, restrooms and cart rentals are not available.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Don't lose your home to foreclosure during the Coronavirus crisis.

by Rod Williams - I am retired now  but spend about the last thirty years working for a HUD-approved non-profit housing counseling agency.  Up until 2007 I worked helping low-income people become homeowners.  After the 2007 housing crisis hit and up until I retired I worked mostly in mortgage-default, helping people avoid losing their home.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have poor money management skills, to put it mildly.  To be less generous, I would say a lot of people are irresponsible.  I see reports that say 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.  That does not generate sympathy from me. They shouldn't.  It is irresponsible to not have some savings.  I know bad things can happen to good people and there are some people living on the edge who can't help it.  However, for the majority of people who are financially living on the edge, they never learned discipline and delayed gratification.  That being said however, I don't want them to lose their home, because they lost their job.

With the closing of bars and restaurants, a lot of people already find themselves unemployed. With the further lockdown, more people are losing their job.  The longer this crisis lingers, the more people will lose their job. A lot of people, when they lose their job will lose their house.  A lot of people lose their home because they do the wrong things.  If one has some savings, one has a better chance to keep one's home than if one does not, but the savings only delays the foreclosure unless one acts wisely.  With savings are not having savings, there are steps to increase the likelihood that you will avoid foreclosure.

 
Your solution for avoiding foreclosure and keeping your home can vary depending on several factors. Here are some of them:
  • Who actually owns your mortgage and what policy for foreclosure avoidance to they have in place.  The company you pay your mortgage payment to is most often a servicer of the mortgage and their options are limited by the entity that insures your mortgage or owns your mortgage.
  • How is your home titled? If you are married is the mortgage in both names? If you once owned a home jointly with a spouse and are now divorced and were awarded the home through divorce, did you ever have the ex-spouse's name removed from the mortgage and the title?
  • When you lost your job, did you just quit because the company was reducing staff or closing their doors or were you laid-off?
  • Your housing ratio, which is the percentage your gross income that it takes to pay the house payment, and your debt ratio, which is the percentage of your gross income it takes to pay all debt, are factors.
  • Before the crisis did you pay your mortgage on time?
It can be complicated. I am listing some general guidelines of what to do if you lose your job and own a home and don't want to lose it. This are general. Other recommended actions would depend on ones specific variables.
  • Immediately get on a crisis budget. Cut all unnecessary expenses. Prioritize. If you have two car payments and a house payment, it is probably better to lose a car than a house. As a housing counselor, I have seen people lose their home who could have saved their home if they would have tightened their belt and prioritized their spending.
  • If you have not applied for unemployment, do it!  If the unemployment office says you must have a separation letter from your employer,  get it.
  • Communicate with your mortgage company. 
  • Don't sent partial payments. Some people think paying half a mortgage payment or whatever they can afford shows good faith and helps them with their mortgage company. It doesn't.  If you are not making payments do not let the money you could have paid toward a mortgage payment just get adsorbed in other spending. Save it, so when you do get a workout offer, you have some money to pay toward your mortgage.
  • Don't think a "forbearance" means you can just skip some payments. A forbearance is a temporary plan to skip payment for a while but at the end of the period, the accumulated skipped payment must be paid or a plan put in place to catch them up.
  • See a HUD-approved housing counselor. A counselor can evaluate your situation, develop an action plan for dealing with the crisis and advocate on your behalf. Don't try to do this alone.
  • Be aware of scams. If someone ask you for money to help you avoid foreclosure, it is probably a scam.
  • Don't move out of your home.  Some people panic and move. If you are living in your home, you are more likely to be eligible for a workout plan or assistance than if you have abandoned your home.
If this crisis continues, there will probably be more programs to help people avoid foreclosure as there were when the housing crisis of 2007 hit.  Don't count on it but don't do stupid things that would disqualify you from taking advantage of whatever program may be offered.  Taking on more debt is one of the things people do in a crisis that is the wrong thing to do and may disqualify them from whatever workout solution or assistance for which they would otherwise be eligible.

Don't panic. Don't bury your head in the sand and just assume it will all work out. Be proactive. I wish all who are facing this crisis, the best. Here are some important links:
HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies
National Community Reinvestment Coalition.


 


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Monday, March 23, 2020

GOVERNOR ISSUES ORDER LIMITING NONEMERGENCY HEALTH CARE PROCEDURES

Governor Bill Lee issued the following order today.

Governor's Executive Order #18

STATE OF TENNESSEE EXECUTIVE ORDER BY THE GOVERNOR No.18

AN ORDER TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 BY LIMITING NONEMERGENCY HEALTH CARE PROCEDURES

WHEREAS, emergency government action to limit the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be prudent and necessary as the illness spreads rapidly throughout our community; and

WHEREAS, on March 4, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 in the State of Tennessee was identified, and 504 additional cases of COVID-19 have since been identified in Tennessee, demonstrating a continued, increasing, and serious risk to the health, safety, and welfare of Tennesseans; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid exposure to it, and exposure mainly results from close person-toperson contact; and

WHEREAS, unnecessary person-to-person contact within the healthcare community increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading to providers and patients throughout our healthcare system; and

WHEREAS, the American Dental Association and the Tennessee Dental Association recommend that dental providers and patients contribute to reducing the spread of COVID-19 by suspending non-essential services like hygiene visits and cosmetic and elective procedures for a minimum of three (3) weeks; and

WHEREAS, the American College of Surgeons has recommended that each hospital, health system, and surgeon thoughtfully review all scheduled elective procedures with a plan to minimize, postpone, or cancel electively scheduled operations, endoscopies, or other invasive procedures and to immediately minimize use of essential items needed to care for patients, including, but not limited to, ICU beds, personal protective equipment, terminal cleaning supplies, and ventilators; and

WHEREAS, the federal Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services recommends limiting all non-essential planned surgeries and procedures, including dental, until further notice; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the other emergency management powers granted by law, Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 58-2-107(e), provides that during a state of emergency, the Governor is authorized to suspend laws and rules regarding the conduct of state business if necessary to cope with the emergency, order evacuations from certain areas, make orders concerning entry and exit and the occupancy of premises within an emergency area, and take measures concerning the conduct of civilians and the calling of public meetings and gatherings, among other things; and

WHEREAS, the temporary suspension of selected state laws and rules and the other measures contained herein are necessary to facilitate the response to the current emergency.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Lee, Governor of the State of Tennessee, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Tennessee Constitution and other applicable law, in light of the continuing state of emergency to facilitate the response to COVID-19, do hereby order the following statewide:

1. Dental service providers in the State of Tennessee, including but not limited to dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, and endodontists, shall not perform any non-emergency dental or oral procedures. Non-emergency dental or oral procedures include hygiene visits, cosmetic procedures, and other elective procedures. Emergency procedures for patients with acute dental or oral needs may still be performed, including treatment for pain, swelling, trauma, or an abscess.

2. All hospitals and surgical outpatient facilities in the State of Tennessee shall not perform non-essential procedures, which includes any medical procedure that is not necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve the health and safety of a patient, as determined by a licensed medical provider. All hospitals and freestanding surgical outpatient facilities must postpone through the expiration of this Order, at a minimum, joint replacement, bariatric surgery, and cosmetic surgery, except for emergency or trauma-related surgery where postponement would significantly impact the health, safety, or welfare of the patient. Medical procedures excluded from postponement include, but are not limited to, surgeries related to advanced cardiovascular disease (including coronary artery disease, heart failure, and arrhythmias) that would prolong life; oncological testing, treatment, and related procedures; pregnancy-related visits and procedures, including labor and delivery; organ transplantation; procedures related to dialysis; and emergency or trauma-related procedures where postponement would significantly impact the health, safety, and welfare of the patient.

3. Non-hospital healthcare providers impacted by this Order are requested and encouraged to provide necessary personal protective equipment in their possession and not required for the emergency care exempted in the Order, including, but not limited to, medical gowns, N95 masks, surgical masks, TYVEK suits, boot covers, gloves, and/or eye protection to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency by delivering such equipment to the nearest open Tennessee National Guard Armory listed on the TEMA website (www.tn.gov/tema) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

4. Any state or local law, order, rule, or regulation that would limit the application of this Order is hereby suspended.

5. This Order shall be effective and enforceable at 12:01 a.m., Central Daylight Time, on March 24, 2020, and shall remain in effect until 12:01 a.m., Central Daylight Time, on April 13, 2020, at which time the suspension of any state laws and rules and the other provisions of this Order shall cease and be of no further force or effect.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have subscribed my signature and caused the Great Seal of the State of Tennessee to be affixed this 23rd day of March, 2020.

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Sunday, March 22, 2020



Metro Nashville
11 hours ago
Beginning tonight at midnight, non-essential businesses in Davidson County are ordered to close and residents should stay at home except for necessary activities. Details of this order can be found at http://COVID19.nashville.gov #COVID19 #SaferAtHome
Mayor John Cooper
Government Official8,075 Likes
12 hrs
PLEASE SHARE: Today, to protect Nashvillians and slow the spread of #COVID19, I have announced a Safer at Home Executive Order for all of Metro Nashville and Davidson County. In order to save lives and reduce the strain on regional healthcare resources as much as possible, I ask all individuals living in Davidson County to stay home, except to go out for essential needs. Following the actions we have already taken this week, this is the next step to protect our community and slow the spread of the virus by closing non-essential businesses and asking individuals to please stay home.
Beginning at midnight tonight and lasting for 14 days, all businesses not performing essential services will close and social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. All bars and restaurants will remain closed except for delivery, take-out, curbside, or drive through options.
This formalizes what many residents and businesses are already doing on their own. It is a difficult decision, especially because of the impact it will have on our businesses, but it is necessary to protect the health and safety of our family, friends and neighbors. The faster we contain #COVID19, the faster we can return to business. We’re in this together. Thank you for your cooperation. Learn more: covid19.nashville.gov

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CHIEF MEDICAL DIRECTOR ORDERS LOCKDOWN. SAFER AT HOME ORDER

Metro Press release, 3/22/2020 -

Pursuant to the Declaration of Public Health Emergency adopted by
the Board of Health for Nashville and Davidson County on March 15, 2020

From: Dr. Michael C Caldwell, Chief Medical Director of Health
This Order is being issued to protect the public health of the citizens of Nashville and Davidson County, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, to bend the curve, and to disrupt the spread of the virus, with the goal of saving lives and reducing strain on regional healthcare resources as much as possible.

SECTION 1
Citizens of Nashville and Davidson County are urged to shelter at home as much as possible.  When individuals leave their homes or places of residence, they should practice appropriate social isolation, staying six feet apart, and should assume others are infectious, regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms.

All gatherings are strongly discouraged, and those with more than 10 people are prohibited. Gatherings include any event or convening unrelated to essential services that brings together groups of individuals, including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events, parades, concerts, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, and similar activities.

City parks will remain open. Citizens using these open spaces are directed to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene, remaining 6 feet apart.

Individuals experiencing homelessness, who may include individuals in shelters and homeless encampments, shall not be subject to this order but shall be encouraged to follow CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene.

SECTION 2
All businesses not performing essential services shall close their business facilities, subject to exceptions stated in this Order.  Facilities shall remain accessible as needed to service computer and other equipment, process mail, and maintain security.
This closure order includes, but is not limited to:
  • On-site activities at hospitality, educational, and entertainment venues, businesses, and facilities are directed to close to the public. On-line activities and deliveries through these businesses may continue.
  • Personal appearance businesses, including hair, nail, massage, tattoo, tanning, waxing, and other such facilities are directed to close, except when the service is medically necessary.
  • Public and private social clubs are directed to close.
Nothing in this Order shall prohibit any business possessing applicable licenses or permits from conducting deliveries; however, CDC guidance on social distancing shall be followed when possible.
Nothing in this order is intended to prohibit individuals from performing business functions of nonessential businesses from their own homes, provided that such business functions comply with existing law and are only performed by residents of that home.

SECTION 3
This Order does not apply to activities necessary to maintain continuity of operations of critical infrastructure sectors, as outlined at https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19.

As set forth by the Federal Department of Homeland Security in the link above the federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof. Individuals working in these 16 critical infrastructure sectors may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to the health and well-being of individuals residing or working in Nashville and Davidson County.

SECTION 4
This Order does not apply to the following sectors and businesses and their employees as essential services to protect the health and well-being of all individuals residing or working in Nashville and Davidson County.
  • Federal and state offices and services, and private companies or individuals performing under federal, state, or local government contracts;
  • Essential government functions including, but not limited to, law enforcement, public transportation, and businesses that provide government programs and services, including functions assisting economically disadvantaged populations and individuals experiencing homelessness;
  • Companies providing media, communication and telecommunication services;
  • Grocery and beverage stores, farmers markets, food banks, caterers, convenience stores selling food, agriculture, food manufacturing and processing, feed mills, and other businesses that directly support the food supply, including but not limited to farming, livestock, and food cultivation;
  • Health care, mental and behavioral health, biomedical research, laboratory services, and other businesses that directly support the healthcare industry including, but not limited to, health information technology, staffing and supplies;
  • Sanitation and waste removal;
  • Energy, water, and sewage businesses and services;
  • Pharmacies, medical supply, and other businesses that directly support the drug and medical supply pipeline;
  • Vehicle fuel, support, and service stations, vehicle parts and repair businesses, and vehicle sales, leasing and rental businesses;
  • Banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, accounting businesses, and other business that directly support the insurance and financial services sectors;
  • Real property marketing, leasing, purchase, and sale services;
  • Legal and judicial services;
  • Laundromats, laundry, and cleaning services;
  • Home and business structure and equipment repair, hardware, building supply, and appliance sale and repairs;
  • Warehousing and storage facilities;
  • Construction, architectural, engineering, or surveying services;
  • Product logistics, transport, and distribution businesses;
  • Parcel transportation and delivery businesses;
  • Veterinary and pet supply business and services;
  • Home and business cleaning and maintenance services;
  • Educational institutions, public and private K-12 schools, private colleges and universities, trade schools, post-secondary, and technical colleges, but only as needed to facilitate online or distance learning and essential functions;
  • Landscaping and nurseries;
  • Production, distribution, and sale of household consumer goods such as cleaning and personal care products;
  • Essential building maintenance and security;
  • Individuals whose job functions require them to be at their work location and who are essential to preserving the information systems, accounting, and human resource infrastructures of any business which is otherwise in substantial compliance with this order;
  • Nonprofit entities providing support and assistance to victims of the tornado that struck Nashville on March 3, 2020, and the COVID-19 epidemic; and
  • Other businesses and services that may be determined are essential for the continued safety and security of Davidson County.
SECTION 5
The following businesses may remain open subject to compliance with the following conditions:
  • Daycare and childcare business shall prioritize children of parents working for essential infrastructure sectors, businesses, or service providers to the extent practicable.
  • Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, adult daycare centers, home health businesses, and senior residential facilities shall follow CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene to the extent practicable. Non-essential social and educational programs at senior citizen and other assisted living communities and centers shall end until further notice.
    • Hotels, short term rental properties, commercial lodges, and dormitories shall cease entertainment or dine-in services, subject to allowing food and beverage pick-up and room-service.
SECTION 6
Essential services, especially grocery stores and pharmacies, shall make best efforts to establish hours of operations during which their services are available only to senior citizens or otherwise vulnerable populations.
Essential services shall continue to adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene in the workplace, including encouraging work-from-home and allowing employees when possible to work on-site in shifts to optimize social distancing in the workplace, where possible.
Essential services are encouraged to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures they can safely utilize.

SECTION 7
If any provision, sentence, clause, phrase, or word, of this Order or any application of it to any individual, business, or circumstance is held to be invalid by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of this Order.

This Order shall be effective at 12:01 AM CDT on March 23, 2020, and shall remain in effect for 14 days subject to extension.
Rod's Comment:  The underlining and italicizing in the above is mine.  Notice that some of this is clearly an order and some of it is discouraging and urging. There are a lot of businesses and occupations exempt from the ban. Does "beverage stores," which are exempted from the order, include liquor stores? I assume it does. Banning the meeting of faith-based gatherings may be the most problematic.  Some strong believer feel they are to follow the will of God, not man.  Some churches or other faith communities may defy the ban. What happens if one disobeys the order?  Will the police arrest you? Will they give you a ticket?  While I bristle at being told what to do in such detail, and while I question if the whole approach to the way we are addressing the virus is the right approach, I am not resisting or encouraging others to resist this order.  I think we all need to cooperate and pray that this ends soon without massive loss of life or destroying the economy and seeing the nation descend into chaos. My understanding of the law is that the local board of health is clearly authorized to take such drastic action. See Legal Authorities for Isolation and Quarantine.
 

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Friday, March 20, 2020

All dine-in service at all restaurants throughout Davidson County banned. All gyms closed.

Dr. Michael Caldwell, Metro’s Chief Medical Director, is enhancing COVID-19 public health protocols restricting dine-in service at all restaurants throughout Nashville and Davidson County. Take-out orders, drive-thru service, curbside pickup, and delivery service are permitted, as long as restaurant patrons do leave the premise with the food and do not stay to dine in the restaurant.” In addition to this, Dr. Caldwell is restricting gyms from being open at this time.
Dr. Caldwell also will be issuing a public health advisory for churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other houses of worship in Davidson County, urging all faith organizations to refrain from physically meeting to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines.
Mayor John Cooper will meet with faith leaders at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020 to discuss the public health advisory and organize a weekend of prayer across Nashville’s faith communities.
Prior to this announcement, bars were already closed and restaurants were restricted to 50% of their seating capacity.


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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Legal Authorities for Isolation and Quarantine

Update:  I posted the below blog post a few days ago on this site and on my Facebook page.  I got a response from Council member Cortney Johnson that provided a link  and an excerpt from an article on the Tennessee Bar Association webpage.  That article explained that the power of a local government to order the closing of businesses or quarantine or other extraordinary measures is derived from the authority of the State Commissioner of Health. County health directors are appointed by the Commissioner of Health with the concurrence of the county mayor. The local Health Director has broad powers to take action to control an epidemic. To read the article which reference the laws giving local governments this authority see: Tennessee Law in the Time of Pandemic Disease.

In another Facebook post, I asked by what authority the President could exercise extraordinary authority for public health such as ordering closings or restricing internal travel.  Apparently the President has such broad authority. 



Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution  list the enumerated powers granted to Congress. Number 3 is "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Congress under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264), granted the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to take measures to prevent the entry and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States and between states. The authority for carrying out these functions on a daily basis has been delegated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). See : Legal Authorities for Isolation and Quarantine


Does the Metro Board of Health have the authority to close every bar in the county?

by Rod Williams - I am not an attorney and I don't know the answer to a question I have, but I question the authority of the Mayor or the Health Department to close bars on Lower Broadway or  take any other extraordinary action to contain an epidemic. The following is from the Tennessee Code Annotated and it certainly looks like the State could do so.  The highlighting is mine.


It is clear the State commissioner of health has broad powers.

A review of the Metro Charter and the Metro Code says the Metropolitan government has the power "To make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants and to prevent, abate and remove nuisances."  And it says, "The board of health, through its chief medical director, shall exercise all the administrative functions of the metropolitan government pertaining to: … The investigation and control of communicable diseases."

That is all kind of general. Is that so open-ended that the Board of Health can close all bars in the County or is the authority to exercise such power found elsewhere in State law or Metro Charter?

Mayor Cooper has said, "The Metro Public Health Department possesses the authority to take extraordinary actions to protect public health."  Maybe he is right, but I wish he would elaborate and tell us the source of that authority.

If the Board of Health has that authority, do they have the authority to close churches?  Do they have the authority to prohibit the Council from meeting?  To cancel an election? To quarantine? To prohibit meetings of more than three people?  What is the punishment for ignoring a Board of Health order?  What is source of the Board's authority and the limit on that authority? I don't know. I think we are owed an explanation.

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What happened at the 3/17/2020 Council meeting. Briefings about Coronavirus, Capital Spending amount increased, only essential legislation considered.



This Council meeting is an hour and half long.  To access the agenda and the agenda staff analysis, follow this link. The Vice mayor explains that the council is meeting under unusual circumstances and with special precautions. Only essential agenda items are considered and Council members are physically spread out to conform to recommended "social distancing,"  about half are in their seats and the others are spread out in the audience seating area.  Members of the public are not admitted and staff is reduced.

At timestamp 8 - 32:32 the Council hears from various health officials and United Way about the city's response to the Coronavirus.  It is presented by live feed and watched on monitors. The presentations about the virus are well done but you do not hear anything that you have not probably already heard a dozen times on one of the 24-hour news channels.

Most items on the agenda are deferred one meeting. Most that are considered pass with little discussion and are routine matters. This is one of interest.

Resolution RS2020-213 authorizes the issuance of up to $154,000,000 in general obligation bonds to provide funding for various projects contained in the Mayor proposed capital spending plan. It is substituted, changing the about to $180 million. The increases are resulting from the needs related to the tornado damages. Some efforts are made to add projects but they fail. The resolution passes.

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