Tennessee Governor Lifts Some COVID Restrictions on Houses of Worship, But Encourages Churches to Continue Meeting Online

Source: Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for ChristianHeadlines.com

On Tuesday, Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order providing guidelines for places of worship in the state amid COVID-19.

The new order, Executive No.74, extends the provisions made in a previous order, Executive No. 70, where he had previously limited worship gatherings to 10 people.

Lee, however, has since lifted the restriction on Tuesday.

“Other provisions, like the gathering limit, will expire,” he tweeted. “Tennesseans have done what we’ve asked them to do over the holidays, and we’re seeing our numbers trend in the right direction because of their efforts.”

Under Executive No. 74, however, Lee stressed that religious services are “strongly encouraged” to continue its gatherings virtually. He added that people of faith should continue following an expansive list of guidelines that was made for houses of worship last October, such as wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing.

Additionally, people attending weddings and funerals should likewise keep in step with the provided guidelines. Large celebration components of weddings and funerals are to be “postponed or attended only by close family members.”

The executive order also encourages Tennesseans to continue working from home or remotely “whenever possible” in light of the “current spread of COVID-19 throughout the State and the resulting strain on health care resources.”

“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,” the statement read.

According to WMC5 Action News, the order limits school sponsored sporting events, 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.

Executive order No. 74 is scheduled to remain in effect until February. 21, 2021.

As of Friday, the state’s Department of Health has recorded 697,783 positive cases of COVID-19, 8,684 deaths, 2,513 hospitalizations, and the administration of 6,101,159 tests.