Governor's latest executive order addresses spectator sports and athletic activities

Order issued Jan. 19, 2021


WHEREAS, Tennessee continues to experience effects of COVID-19 that warrant extending certain provisions of Executive Order No. 70 as amended herein; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the other powers granted by law, Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 58-2-107, provides, among other things, that during a state of emergency, the Governor is authorized to suspend laws and rules if necessary to cope with an emergency, utilize all available state and local resources needed to combat an emergency, and take measures concerning the conduct of civilians.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Lee, Governor of the State of Tennessee, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Tennessee Constitution and other applicable law, do hereby recognize the continuing state of emergency and major disaster in order to facilitate the response to COVID-19 and accordingly order the following:

(1) Tennesseans should work from home where possible. Given the current spread of COVID-19 throughout the State and the resulting strain on health care resources, persons are encouraged where appropriate to work remotely or via telework from home, where possible and advisable, and all employers and businesses are strongly urged to take steps to the greatest extent practicable to equip, encourage, allow, or require employees to work remotely or via telework from home where appropriate.

(2) Places of worship, weddings, and funerals. Places of worship are  strongly encouraged to continue to utilize virtual or online services and gatherings and strongly encouraged to follow the Guidance for Gathering Together in Houses of Worship issued by the Governor's Office  of  Faith-Based  and  Community Initiatives regarding in-person services that can be conducted safely. Likewise, persons at weddings and funerals are strongly encouraged to follow the Health

Guidelines and maintain appropriate social distancing to the greatest extent practicable, although it is further strongly encouraged that any large public celebration component of weddings and funerals be postponed or attended only by close family members.

(3) Spectator sports and athletic activities. Local education agencies and schools shall, notwithstanding any orders or provisions to the contrary, have the authority to permit, but are not required to permit, school sponsored sporting events and activities, provided that all such activities, including practices and games or competition, must be conducted in a manner consistent with COVID-19-related guidance and rules adopted by the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association. Non-school-sponsored athletics, including practices, games, and competition, must be conducted in a manner consistent with guidance from either the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group (i.e., Tennessee Pledge) or Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

With respect to school-sponsored and other youth athletics, schools, organizers, and facilities shall not permit spectators to attend practices, games, or competition; provided, that game, school, and facility administrators, teachers, athletics officials, coaching and team personnel, parents, grandparents, guardians, or other immediate household members of athletes practicing or competing at the venue on that date, media and athletic scouting personnel attending the event in their professional capacity, and first responders may be present within the facility, but must to the greatest extent practicable comply with applicable health protocols, including maintaining at least six (6) feet of separation from persons outside their household. Schools, facilities, organizers, and governing bodies may further limit physical capacity as deemed necessary to protect public health

Collegiate and professional sporting events and activities are subject to the rules, protocols, or guidelines of their respective institutions and governing bodies.

(4) Suspension of laws that would limit application of this Order. Any law, order, rule, or regulation that would otherwise limit the enforceability of this Order is hereby suspended, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 58-2-107.

(5) Severability. If any provision of this Order or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this Order which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this Order are declared to be severable.

(6). Term and effective date. This Order shall be effective and enforceable as of 11:59 p.m., Central Standard Time, on January 19, 2021, and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m., Central Standard Time, on February 27, 2021.


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