Middle Tennessee law enforcement give warnings for those gathering in groups

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HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee enacted Executive Order 23 Thursday, mandating everyone in Tennessee to stay at home unless leaving the house for essential activities such as grocery shopping.

The order also gave each individual law enforcement agency the power to enforce how they see fit.

“I want to make this very clear, there is no martial Law, there is no quarantine, there are no roadblocks, there is no curfew,” Sgt. PJ Hardy with the Lebanon Police Department said in a Facebook live video.

Law enforcement in Middle Tennessee say they’re getting calls from residents either asking if they can leave the house or reporting those that are.

“Over the last several days, the Hendersonville Police Department has received several calls from concerned citizens about gatherings or certain areas of the city that might be vulnerable to persons wanting to congregate,” Sgt. Greg Freudenthal with Hendersonville PD told News 2.

One call Hendersonville Police responded to Saturday was for a group of more than ten people congregating around a basketball game on a residential street.

“The officer arrived on scene, noted that there were at least 3 or more person playing basketball in a cul de sac from different residences,” Freudenthal explained, “They stopped, talked to the individuals, advised them of the order of the governor that the motion to disperse and keep safe would be the best course of action.”

For now, Hendersonville police say they’re giving verbal warnings, but under the stay at home order, law enforcement agencies across the state can verbally warn, cite, fine, and even arrest.

“We’re not actively stopping vehicles, to see why people are out or where they’re going, we’re not,” Hardy went on to say in a Facebook video, “If you are a business or if you are a group, or an organization that is not following the order, then those are the folks, those are the situations where we’re gonna have to step in.”

Metro-Nashville Police tell News 2 they are also giving warnings when they see people gathering in groups, and like Hendersonville, they say it’s working for now.

“All of them very understanding, saying, ‘Yes sir, we understand the issue we’re trying to do our best but we’re just cooped up and tired of it,'” Freudenthal said, “And we understand that we’re trying to simply inform them and do our best going along with everybody in the nation right now and keep Hendersonville safe.”

Theses agencies say they will only step up enforcement if they deem it necessary.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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