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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s COVID-19 Bulletin #3

Tennessee State GovernmentNashville, TN – Today, Thursday, March 19th, 2020, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts around COVID-19 (Coronavirus) relief.

Governor Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed here. Governor Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates which can be found here.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee

Updates & Reminders

Support for Small Businesses

Yesterday, Governor Lee submitted a request to the Small Business Administration to officially pursue statewide relief opportunities for Tennessee small businesses. Tennessee nonprofit organizations can also pursue this assistance.

  • Once the declaration is made, all Tennessee small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will be eligible to apply for disaster loan assistance of up to $2 million per applicant.

Medical Supply Capacity

  • It is estimated that there are currently 15,000 licensed, unused beds within Tennessee hospital capacity.
  • Tennessee currently has 537 unused ventilators, and the Tennessee Department of Health ordered 570 additional ventilators yesterday.

Administration Actions for Targeted Relief

Executive Order 15

Today Governor Lee signed Executive Order 15 to relieve regulatory burdens and free up the Executive Branch to more effectively respond to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Tennessee. This executive order works to quickly boost our health care capacity, continue important consumer protections and provide enhanced customer service to our citizens during this pandemic.

The Executive Order accomplishes the below actions, among others:

Health Care Capacity

  • Further deregulates hospital beds to free up capacity.
  • Further deregulates scope of practice, allowing more health care professionals to treat patients.
  • Expands the number of providers who are eligible to provide telehealth services by loosening regulations around technology and geographic area and urges insurers to provide coverage for COVID-19 (Coronavirus).



Customer Service Provisions – Department of Safety

  • Effective immediately, the Department is waiving its requirement that citizens appear in person and have a new photograph taken through October 1st, 2021. This will allow many customers with expiring credentials to renew online and not visit in person.
  • Non-US citizens with Temporary driver licenses (Class XD and XID) will still need to visit in person to renew those licenses upon expiration of the current license.
  •  All Driver Licenses, Learner Permits, Commercial Driver Licenses, Photo Identification Licenses (ID), and Handgun Carry Permits that would expire between March 12th, 2020, and May 19th, 2020, will be extended for six (6) months from the original expiration date.  The Department will issue a letter of extension to the individuals affected.  Affected individuals will be required to keep the letter with them during the extension period.
  • Gov. Lee has asked the federal government to delay the October 1st deadline to acquire a Real ID. That decision from the federal government is pending.

Consumer Protection

  • Cracks down on the price gouging of consumer foods and supplies.

Current Department of Health Testing Results (as of 2 p.m. 3/19)

Testing Location Total COVID-19 Tests Completed Number Negative Number Positive
TN State Public Health Laboratory 497 464 33
All other commercial and private laboratories 121
Total positives in TN 154


For more information on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Tennessee, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s website here.


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