NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order Sunday directing restaurants across the state to suspend their dine-in services for the next 14 days, while also calling for the closure of gyms and fitness centers.

The new regulations are effective at midnight central time on Monday, March 23.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” Governor Lee said in a statement. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position”

The executive order prohibits social gatherings of ten or more people and also enacts the following provisions regarding restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments:

  • Establishments are to exclusively offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options to support families, businesses and the food supply chain during this emergency.
  • Establishments may sell alcohol by take-out or delivery (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to those who are age 21 and up.

Gyms and fitness/exercise centers, or substantially similar facilities, are to temporarily close and suspend in-person services until April 6. In the interim, these businesses are encouraged to pursue digital programming if possible.  

The order also pursues additional measures to keep vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying conditions safe.

  • Visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted-living facilities is now limited to visits involving essential care only.
  • Businesses are encouraged to enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.

“I urge every Tennessean to take these actions seriously – our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19,” the governor stated.

More information regarding COVID-19, health resources and support for small business is available HERE.