Tennessee - COVID-19 Covered


Total Cases: 244,087 (October 25)
Fatalities: 3,100 (October 25)
  • 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:

  • Tennessee released official reopening guidance for businesses based on sector. Details for each sector can be found here. 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • 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)



  • In accordance with the current scientific understanding of COVID-19, Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group issued updated guidance today for businesses and other activities under the Tennessee Pledge. (October 2)  
  • Governor Lee signed an executive order that extends certain targeted provisions of previous executive orders through October 30, including the authority of local governments to institute mask requirements. Remaining restrictions on businesses and gathering sizes in the 89 counties with a state-run health department have been removed. (September 29)  
  • Governor Lee signed an executive order that extends provisions that allow for remote notarization and witnessing of documents through October 30. (September 29) 
  • Governor Lee signed Executive Order Nos. 60 and 61, which extend through September 30 provisions that allow for electronic government meetings that will be subject to transparency safeguardsremote notarization, and other secure measures. (August 28 
  • Governor Lee signed Executive Order No. 59 to extend certain targeted provisions of Executive Order Nos. 36, 38, 49, 50, 54, and 55 through September 30 to facilitate the continued treatment and containment of COVID-19 through regulatory flexibility, promoting social distancing and wearing face coverings in public places, and protecting vulnerable populations. (August 28)  
  • Governor Lee called for the Tennessee General Assembly to convene on August 10 for a special session to address COVID-19 liability protections, telehealth services, and laws governing the Capitol grounds. (August 3) 
  • 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 will launch a public service announcement campaign to urge all Tennesseans to fight against the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask. (July 23) 
  • Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group, in partnership with the Tennessee Entertainment Commission, released new Tennessee Pledge guidelines with safety measures for media production. (July 13) 
  • Governor Lee signed Executive Order 54, 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 signed Executive Order No. 50 to extend the State of Emergency related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to August 29. (June 29) 
  • Wilson County has redeclared a state of emergency. The prior emergency declaration expired May 18. (June 24) 
  • Nashville Mayor John Copper announced that Phase 2 for reopening the city will commence May 25. In Phase 2, restaurants and retail businesses can open with 75% of full capacity. Live music can return in a phased format with no more than 25 people present, amusement, attractions and salons can reopen at 50% capacity. (May 22) 



  • 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 COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com