Nashville Mayor Issues Stay at Home Order; Tennessee Governor Orders Closure of All Dine-In Restaurants, Bars and Workout Facilities – Both Effective Midnight March 22, 2020

Date   Mar 22, 2020

Summary: In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health care system from being overwhelmed, Nashville, Tennessee Mayor John Cooper has announced a “Safer at Home” Order, closing all nonessential businesses and urging Nashville residents to stay home. The Order takes effect midnight on March 22, 2020, and will be in effect for at least 14 days. Additionally, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has ordered the state-wide closure of all dine-in restaurants, bars and workout facilities effective midnight March 22, 2020 until April 6, 2020. The Governor’s Order also prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people and prohibits nonessential visitations to nursing homes and retirement communities. Governor Lee has not yet ordered all nonessential businesses to suspend operations, like Nashville’s mayor; however he encourages such businesses to "enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public."

Major Points of Nashville’s Stay at Home Order:

Essential Activities Permitted

Residents can still travel for essential activities but need to stay at least six feet away from others. Essential activities include traveling to:

  • Grocery, convenience or warehouse stores;
  • Pharmacies or to shop for other health care necessities;
  • Medical appointments;
  • Restaurants for take-out, delivery or drive-thru;
  • Care for a friend or family member.

Essential activities also include going outside to exercise, walking pets or taking them to veterinary services, and receiving deliveries.

What is Prohibited?

The Order prohibits individuals from:

  • Going to work unless employed by a business providing essential services;
  • Visiting friends and family if there is no urgent need;
  • Maintaining less than six feet of distance from others;
  • Visiting loved ones in hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities or residential care facilities.

Essential Businesses:

Businesses considered “essential” under the Order are as follows:

  • Federal and state offices and services, including post offices and airports;
  • Essential Nashville government functions including law enforcement, transportation, and businesses that provide government programs and services;
  • Grocery and beverage stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, catering, convenience stores selling food, agriculture, food processing, feed mills, and other businesses that directly support the food supply;
  • Health care, mental and behavioral health, and biomedical research and businesses that directly support the healthcare industry, including health information technology, staffing and supplies;
  • Sanitation and waste removal businesses and services;
  • Energy, water, and sewage businesses and services;
  • Pharmacies and medical supply businesses, and other businesses that directly support the drug and medical supply pipeline;
  • Vehicle fuel, support, service stations and businesses;
  • Banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, accounting businesses, and other business that directly support the insurance and financial services sector;
  • Legal and judicial services;
  • Laundromats/laundry/cleaning services;
  • Home and business repair, hardware supply;
  • Warehousing and storage;
  • Construction and facilities design businesses;
  • Product logistics, transport, and distribution businesses;
  • Parcel transportation and delivery businesses;
  • Veterinary and pet supply business and services including agricultural services and the caring and feeding of all livestock and farm animals;
  • Home and business cleaning and maintenance services;
  • All businesses which rely upon deliveries may continue, including florists;
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services);
  • Print, online and broadcast media;
  • Certain other business and services the Health Department in coordination with Metro Legal and the Office of the Mayor determines are essential for the continued safety and security of Davidson County.

In addition:

  • Daycare and childcare business will remain open, but will prioritize children of parents working in essential services.
  • Hotels and commercial lodges will remain open, but must end entertainment or dining services in restaurants or group settings. Pick-up and room-service food services may continue.
  • Housing and rental services may continue, but agents should practice social distancing, should not hold open houses or gather in groups larger than 10.
  • Essential services listed above may continue as long as appropriate distancing is physically possible and encouraged. These businesses will adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene in the workplace, including encouraging work-from-home and allowing employees when possible to work on-site in shifts to optimize social distancing in the workplace.
  • All essential services, especially grocery stores and pharmacies, will make best efforts to establish hours when they are only available to senior citizens or otherwise vulnerable populations.

The Order does not apply to employees of government agencies working within the course and scope of their public service employment. Employees of the Metro Nashville shall follow any current or future directives issued by the Mayor.

Further, the Order allows individuals to leave their residences to provide any services or goods or perform any work necessary to the operations, maintenance and manufacturing of essential infrastructure, including without limitation:

  • Construction of commercial and institutional buildings, and residential buildings and housing;
  • Airport operations, food supply, concessions, and construction;
  • Water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil extraction and refining;
  • Roads, highways, public transportation and rail;
  • Solid waste collection and removal;
  • Flood control and watershed protection;
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services); and
  • Manufacturing and distribution companies deemed essential to the supply chains of the above industries.

If you have any questions regarding this Alert, please contact the authors, Mark Stamelos,, or Max Smith,, lawyers in the Nashville office of FordHarrison, LLP.

FordHarrison is closely monitoring the spread of Coronavirus and has implemented continuity plans, including the ability to work remotely in a technologically secure environment when necessary, to ensure continuity of our operations and uninterrupted service to our clients. We are following all CDC guidelines and state and local laws as applicable. We are committed to ensuring the health and welfare of our clients, employees, and communities while continuing to provide our clients with the highest quality service. Please see our dedicated Coronavirus Taskforce page for the latest FH Legal Alerts and webinars on Coronavirus, as well as links to governmental and industry-specific resources for employers to obtain additional information and guidance. For more information or to be connected with a Coronavirus Taskforce attorney, please contact