Updated Status Report From Mayor Lane Curlee Regarding COVID-19 April 3, 2020

//Updated Status Report From Mayor Lane Curlee Regarding COVID-19 April 3, 2020

Hopefully, everyone is aware Governor Lee has issued Executive Orders 22 and 23 which affect every resident and business in Tullahoma and the state.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is impacting everyone now. Everyone needs to do their part to help return our community to normal. This includes staying  home. Click here to learn how the CDC recommends protecting yourself.
Governor Bill Lee has required citizens to stay home with executive order number 23 until April 14, 2020.

Executive Order #22 states  all non-essential businesses must close.   Click here to see the list of essential business categories. Interpreting the list of essential businesses is challenging because this is advice  we have never had to provide. I have included a list of the orders and list of essential businesses so  you may research the orders. Under Executive Order #23, unless you are on what is deemed an “essential” errand: grocery, pharmacy, healthcare visit, or work at an essential business, you are to remain home. This order is in effect until April 14, 2020.

Executive Orders
Executive Order 23 Amending Order 22 Requiring Citizens to Stay Home
Executive Order 22 and List of Essential Businesses and Services
Executive Order 17 Limiting Social Gatherings, Dine-in Service, and Gym Use and Exposure at  Nursing and Guidance for the Sale of Alcohol

Please understand every time you go out and get near other people, you stand the chance of picking up the virus.  You can also pick up the virus from door handles, countertops, and many other places.  You can then bring the virus into your home.  So you’re not only putting yourself at risk, you are potentially endangering others.  You can be a carrier and not even know it.  The message:  stay home!

A Coffee County COVID-19 Task Force, led by Emergency Management Director Allen Lendley, is a united command team that operates out of the Emergency Operations Center and virtually.  The group convenes every day via conference call. Thirty-nine individuals from across the county participate, representing health care, law enforcement and city and county leaders. They have implemented the Coffee Count Pandemic Plan and are working closely managing the crisis, discussing issues and anticipating needs. The calls are very beneficial, and I can assure you this group is proactively anticipating needs that may arise.  We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.  The advice at this time is to follow the Governor’s orders and CDC guidelines. Stay home. At this point, there are few cases in our local healthcare system, and in order to not overwhelm the healthcare system, citizens need to stay home. Follow the Coffee County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page for updates.

Tennova Healthcare – Harton CEO Rich Ellis asked me to share this with you:

“The Doctors and Staff at Tennova Healthcare Harton continue to provide medical care for our citizens while we also prepare to take care of any patients who may develop symptoms of CoronaVirus.  We continue to provide screening for patients who meet the CDC guidelines for testing and thus far, we have no patients who have tested positive for CoronaVirus.  Patients in our hospital and our clinics receive care thanks to the skills and compassion of our nurses, physicians, technicians and all members of our team. We understand our responsibility to protect our caregivers with the resources and practices to minimize unnecessary exposure to infection, and we are restricting visitor access to the hospital at this time as part of this response.  We are very thankful to be a part of this wonderful community and we are committed to serving all of our patients through this crisis.”

Interim Director of Tullahoma City Schools Scott Hargrove asked me to give you this message:

-“ Tullahoma City Schools Food & Nutrition Team will continue feeding students. The feeding schedule can be found on social media: TCS Facebook and TCS Public on Twitter.
- We have sent home "learning bundle" #1.  - "Learning bundles" #2 & #3 are being developed. For elementary school students, middle and high school students that do not have internet or devices, hard copies of the learning will be mailed so it is imperative our schools have the proper mailing address. Please contact the school if your address has changed.”

Police Chief Williams and Fire Chief Shasteen will be visiting Tullahoma businesses to help the owners/managers determine if their business is on the list of essential businesses. If essential, they will also make sure the business is following CDC protocols for their staff and customers.

Volunteer Leigh Fogle is maintaining a website with lots of local helpful information, including how you can help your fellow residents, if you have needs, etc..  It’s a great resource.  The website is www.WeAreTullahoma.com and there is also a Facebook page of the same name.  You can log onto this webpage if you need help with essential errands, or if you would like to volunteer in some capacity.   A special thanks to Leigh and her team of volunteers for helping keep everybody up to date.

The Community Collaboration (the community collab) website www.thecommunitycollab.com is a resource for economic aid, request help for your business, sign up as a remote volunteer to support local businesses, list your business, find inspiration and tips for operations during the crisis, and even access training. You can also donate to the MotlowTrained Workforce Relief Fund for community members suffering from any loss of income as a result of the pandemic.

Gov. Lee also announced Tennessee small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis are eligible to apply for loan assistance through the SBA’s new Paycheck Protection Program.  Businesses can begin applying for these loans with eligible financial institutions beginning Friday, April 3rd.  These forgivable SBA loans are designed to help small businesses keep their workforce employed.  This program is part of the national $349 billion loan program providing much needed relief to small businesses and help companies keep their workers employed and sustain operations.

Remember, these are challenging times for our local businesses.  Don’t forget the #SupportLocalSafely program and support our businesses as best you can by shopping local businesses on-line or by phone.  Purchasing gift cards from local businesses is also helpful.

As of Friday, April 3rd there are only three positive COVID-19 cases in Coffee County. Let’s work to keep the number at three. The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating to people and businesses. In order to end this crisis, staying home is the most important action. How long it will last depends on how our community responds to the Governor’s orders.

There are 52 churches in Tullahoma.  I know many churches will be tempted to hold Easter services next Sunday; some are considering “drive-in” services.  Sadly, I’m afraid this does not follow the spirit of Gov. Lee’s stay-at-home mandate, so I respectfully ask the churches to continue on-line services at this time.

City Administrator Jennifer Moody has informed me beginning Monday, April 13th, the City of Tullahoma will no longer collect residential or commercial recycling items that must be directly picked up by hand.  Because the virus can be spread from person-to-person contact and because curbside recycling pickup requires sorting by hand, this service is being suspended to avoid potential spread of this virus.   This measure may be effective in helping us “bend the curve” of the virus in our community.   The city has a limited number of additional garbage carts and will be temporarily suspending the cost of carts for residential customers.  To request a cart, please contact Tullahoma Public Works at 931-454-1768.   Remember, all pickups will take place as normal the week of April 6th, but no recyclable collections beginning the week of April 13th.

The Tullahoma public works convenience center, community centers, animal shelter, and public lobbies remain closed through April 26th.  City pavilions, playgrounds, and ball fields located in city parks are also closed.   These measures are necessary in response to COVID-19 and normal services will resume once the pandemic is over.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced today, April 3rd,  it will close all 56 Tennessee state parks and state-owned state natural areas to the public effective April 4 through April 14, in support of Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order 23. This is a complete closure of facilities and access to all Tennessee State Parks and Designated State Natural Areas.  This includes the Short Springs Natural Wildlife Area.

I appreciate everyone’s support of the Governor’s Executive Orders as we work through this challenging situation. Also, thanks to the front line individuals who are working so hard behind the scenes to help keep all of us safe.

In closing, keep in mind the person next to you possibly is a carrier of the virus, or perhaps even you are. Please remember that in all your daily activities. Let’s keep everyone safe by following CDC guidelines!  Now more than ever, we really need to love our neighbor – just do so from a distance.  Remember to check on the elderly and shut-ins, and let’s all work together to get through this challenging time.

Lane Curlee, Mayor
April 3, 2020

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