Monroe County Mayor Mitch Ingram said he doesn’t expect a lot of change after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee loosened the restrictions on public gatherings last week.
“I don’t think that we will see much change here in Monroe County based on the lifting of the restrictions. Schools are already back in session and churches have always been exempt from the restrictions,” said Ingram. “We may start to see some more community events now that the restrictions have been lifted, but I don’t think you are going to see a major change because I think people are still going to exercise caution.”
He believes the release of the restrictions may bring a sense of ease to people.
“I think that it will be a lot less stressful for the citizens with the restrictions being lifted,” he stated. “I think there has been a concern as far as keeping attendance in events or meetings, so having the restrictions lifted will place more people at ease especially event organizers, employers and coordinators.”
Ingram said he feels the timing is adequate for the restrictions to start lifting.
“It is hard to criticize a group of having an event over 50 when you have high school football games and other events occurring,” he noted. “Trying to be fair across the board I think the timing is correct with school in session, sports and other things and I am sure there has been a lot of time and research performed before the governor made this decision.”
He believes it is a good thing to see the restrictions starting to lessen.
“I know we have all been looking forward to the day when we started to see a decrease in the restrictions, so this is a positive thing as we still try to navigate the pandemic,” he stated. “We look forward to moving on and even less restrictions down the road.”
Changes to the executive order consist of the authority of local governments to institute mask requirements remaining and restrictions on businesses and gathering sizes in the 89 counties with a state-run health department being removed.
Other provisions listed in Executive Order No. 63 include:
• “Provide that persons with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay at home and that employers may not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work;”
• “Urge persons to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others, while facilitating local decision-making concerning face covering requirements;”
• “Urge social distancing from those outside of your household, while eliminating caps on gathering size that have proven overly complex and arbitrary because they do not adequately account for critical considerations such as venue capacity and physical characteristics, type of activity involved, and location (indoors vs. outdoors), and thus undermine the more important focus on social distancing;”
• “Providing a framework for safe visitation for nursing home and long-term-care facilities;”
• “Allow for the reopening of senior centers, while providing that capacity must be limited to the extent necessary to accommodate adequate social distancing;”
• “Provide that employers, businesses and venues are expected to comply with the Tennessee Pledge for operating safely (the six counties with locally run county health departments continue to have existing statutory authority to issue additional directives on businesses/venues);”
• “Continue access to take-out alcohol sales to encourage carryout and delivery orders;”
• “Allow broad access to tele-health services;”
• “Increase opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce;”
• “Facilitate Increased testing and health care capacity;”
• “Extend deadlines and suspend certain in-person continuing education, gathering or inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact;” and
• “Increase opportunities to work remotely where appropriate.”