Tennessee - COVID-19 Covered


Total Cases: 2,515,130 (March 10)
Fatalities: 29,263 (March 10)
  • Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 testing sites across the state will begin offering self-testing kits to adults three days a week beginning December 21 in order to allow staff members to transition to the vaccination of frontline health care providers and first responders. (December 14)  
  • The Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee National Guard will extend operating hours at 35 county health departments, from 7AM to 5PM local time, on Monday, November 23 and Monday November 30. (November 16)  
  • Governor Lee’s Unified Command Group will open drivethrough COVID-19 testing sites in each of Tennessee’s grand divisions on Saturday, November 7. (November 4)  
  • Governor Lee’s Unified Command Group will open drivethrough COVID-19 testing sites in three counties on Saturday, October 24 to address rising case rates in Tennessee’s rural areas. (October 21) 
  • You can find your closest Tennessee COVID-19 assessment site here. 


Essential Service Designations:

  • Tennessee has defined the following essential services as the following: Health care and public health operations, human services operations (including government or government funded human services, day care facilities, and group homes, among others), essential infrastructure operations, essential government functions, food and medicine stores, food and beverage production and agriculture, organizations that provide charitable and social services, religious and ceremonial functions, media, gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, financial institutions and insurance entities, hardware and supply stores, critical trades (including electricians, plumbers, exterminators, janitorial staff, security, operating engineers, and others), mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services, educational institutions, laundry services, restaurants for off-premises consumptions, supplies to work from home, supplies for essential businesses and operations, transportation, home-based care and services, residential facilities and shelters, professional Services, manufacturing, distribution and supply chain for critical industries, hotels and motels, funeral services, any business related to an essential activity. (March 30)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Bill Lee and Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord announced a new campaign, “Let’s Get to Work Tennessee,” to help Tennesseans who have lost jobs as a result of the pandemic find and obtain meaningful employment. (December 9)  
  • Governor Lee announced Reconnect to Workforce, a partnership between the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Tennessee Reconnect program and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development that will assist up to 500,000 Tennesseans claiming unemployment benefits to earn a college degree while fulfilling work search requirements. (November 12)  
  • Tennessee released official reopening guidance for businesses based on sector. Details for each sector can be found here. 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Lee signed an executive order extending emergency provisions outlined in previous executive orders to Tennessee until December 29. (October 30) 
  • Governor Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group (FSAG) proactively invested Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars into the state’s unemployment trust fund, protecting employees and businesses across the state. (September 17)  
  • Governor Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced an additional $115 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds will be made available to local governments to offset costs incurred from responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. (July 20) 
  • The City of Knoxville announced it received $1.55 million through the CARES act to help its residents with their overdue bills (June 10) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Education said the state is receiving $260 million from the USED federal care package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act. (May 20) 
  • Tennessee created the Stimulus Financial Accountability Group to ensure proper fiscal management of the $2.3 billion in funds received by the state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. (April 16) 
  • Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is altering its benefits portal to accommodate the federal program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the new $600 weekly federal benefit. (April 8) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Lee announced an initial $50 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for the new Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant (SERG) program, which will provide additional relief to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 7)  
  • Governor Bill Lee announced a 5-day extension for eligible small businesses to certify for the Tennessee Business Relief Program (TBRP). (September 25) 
  • Governor Lee announced Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business (CAFB) Fund awards to farm and forestry businesses. TDA established the CAFB Fund with CARES Act resources to help ensure stability of the food supply chain and agribusiness economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. (September 21) 
  • Governor Lee and the Department of Revenue announced a new digital eligibility tool for small business owners to determine if their business may be eligible for a Tennessee Business Relief Program payment. (August 31)  
  • Governor Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced new and expanded financial relief programs for small businesses, agribusinesses, displaced workers, and the tourism industry through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). (August 14)
  • Governor Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced $150 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds will be made available to Tennessee non-profits. (July 21)
  • The State announced a new relief program for businesses impacted by the pandemic. The Tennessee Business Relief Program will provide $200 million in federal funds to eligible small businesses. (June 2)



  • The Tennessee Department of Health announced it would begin administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children 12 to 15 years of age. (May 12) 
  • Governor Lee announced the end of statewide public health orders and local mask authorities. (April 27) 
  • All adults in Tennessee will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by April 5. (March 22 
  • Tennessee expanded COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to those in Phase 1C of the state’s vaccination plan. (March 9) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health announced state-specific visitation restrictions for long-term care facilities will end on February 28. (February 24) 
  • Tennessee will begin registering residents 65 years of age and older as well as those in Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 on February 22. (February 16) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health authorized 121 Walmart pharmacy locations to administer COVID-19 vaccines. (February 11) 
  • Tennessee began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to residents aged 70 and older the week of February 1. (February 1 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health is expanding access to COVID-19 vaccination with a particular focus on rural and underserved areas by partnering with pharmacies and community health clinics to add more than 100 new vaccination sites across the state. (January 28 
  • Tennessee added people living in households with medically fragile children to Phase 1c of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. (January 22) 
  • Tennessee correctional officers and jailers have been added to Phase 1a1 of Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. (January 22) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee’s Unified Command Group added new features to the COVID19.tn.gov website to make it easier for users to find county-specific information and request an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination. (January 15) 
  • Tennessee assisted care living facilities and homes for the aged began vaccinating their staff members and residents on January 13 through the federal partnership with Walgreens and CVS. (January 12) 
  • Tennessee county health departments began booking appointments for people in Phase 1 populations of the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and those aged 75 and up who wish to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. (January 11) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health updated the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and its phased approach to administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents. (December 30) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health will provide data on COVID-19 vaccines administered in the state via a new dashboard to be provided online here. (December 18 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health announced the state had received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (December 14) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Health developed a preliminary structure for the allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. (December 2) 
  • In accordance with the current scientific understanding of COVID-19, Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group issued updated guidance for businesses and other activities under the Tennessee Pledge. (October 2) 
  • Governor Lee signed an executive order allowing the resumption of contact sports and extending local authority to require masks, among other provisions. (July 31) 
  • Governor Lee announced the state would launch a public service announcement campaign to urge all Tennesseans to fight against the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask. (July 23) 
  • Governor Lee signed an executive order granting 89 county mayors the authority to issue local mask requirements in the event of a significant rise in COVID-19 cases. (July 3) 



  • Governor Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn called for the removal of negative consequences for schools and educators associated with student assessments for the 2020-2021 school year. (October 16)  
  • The Tennessee Department of Education released a dashboard that provides information on each school’s status as offering in-person learning, virtual learning, or a hybrid. (August 11)  
  • Governor Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn announced the State’s continued efforts to assist families, teachers, and districts as the 2020-2021 school year begin. (August 6)  
  • Governor Lee announced the state’s recommendations to reopen schools for the 2020-2021 school year. (July 28)  
  • Governor Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced $81 million in CARES Act funding will available for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to assist with plans for safe reopening. (July 7) 
  • The Tennessee Department of Education announced released guidance “toolkits” for school districts as officials look to reopen this fall. Included in the toolkits are packets on School Nutrition, Special Populations, Finance, Transportation, and Templates for school calendars. (June 17) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Tennessee universities and colleges planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at [email protected]