NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After learning that data shows an increase in citizen movement across the state, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is now requiring that residents stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities.

Lee previously urged people to stay home but did not make it a requirement. In recent days, several organizations have urged the governor to issue a stay-at-home order, similar to one in Virginia.

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen decreases in movement around the state as Tennesseans socially distance and stay at home,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “However, in recent days we have seen data indicating that movement may be increasing and we must get these numbers trending back down. I have updated my previous executive order to clearly require that Tennesseans stay at home unless they are carrying out essential activities.”

Data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation analyzed traffic patterns for March 2020. While safer at home measures and further restrictions on businesses showed a steep drop-off in vehicle movement from March 13-29, data beginning on March 30 indicates travel is trending upwards, again, according to a news release issued Thursday.

The administration also analyzed data from Unacast to understand cell phone mobility and determine movement trends among people. Unacast indicates the movement of Tennesseans is trending toward pre-COVID-19 levels.

“The month of April stands to be an extremely tough time for our state as we face the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Lee. “Every Tennessean must take this seriously, remain at home and ensure we save lives.”

The executive order remains in effect until April 14, at 11:59 p.m.

rsorrell@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2531 | Twitter: @RSorrellBHC | Facebook.com/robertsorrelltn

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