TDTD is in regular contact with the Governor’s office and the Tennessee Department of Health, along with other numerous state and federal agencies including U.S. Travel Association and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). We continue to monitor for breaking developments.
Resource and updates (updated March 27, 2020) from the team at TDTD are below.
TDTD, together with the Tennessee Department of Labor Workforce & Development, Hospitality TN, Tennessee Retail Association, and the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association partnered to create the Tennessee Talent Exchange, powered by Jobs4TN, which quickly connects job seekers to hiring companies in the grocery, retail and logistics industry. The new initiative helps hospitality employees who are now in need of job opportunities transition into another industry that is in need of an expanded workforce.
Additionally, TDTD worked with Gov. Lee’s office to develop “Do Your Part, Stay Apart,” a public service announcement campaign that urges Tennesseans to adopt preventative health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. “Do Your Part, Stay Apart” features Governor Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee and Tennessee celebrities Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway, former NFL Titan Eddie George and Taj George, Titans Coach Mike Vrabel, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, University of Tennessee athletics director Phil Fulmer and Vicky Fulmer, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith and Cece Winans, and more. Dozens of music artists, athletes and sports organizations who collectively reach millions of Tennesseans will join the campaign via social media. Join in with the hashtag #TNStayApart and tag @TDTDIndustry, @GovBillLee and @TNDeptofHealth.
FEMA has launched a rumor-control website with correct, key information to address rumors and misinformation on many COVID-19 related topics, such as false information about the National Guard deploying for a two-week national lockdown: https://www.fema.gov/Coronavirus-Rumor-Control.
Governor Lee signed Executive Order 17, mandating alternative business models for restaurants and gyms effective midnight CDT March 23 until midnight CDT April 6. Executive Order 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people and also enacts the following provisions regarding restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments:
● Establishments are to exclusively offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options to support families, businesses and the food supply chain during this emergency.
● Establishments may sell alcohol by take-out or delivery (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to those who are age 21 and up.
Gyms and fitness/exercise centers or substantially similar facilities are to temporarily close and suspend in-person services until April 6, 2020. In the interim, these businesses are encouraged to pursue digital programming if possible.
The order also pursues additional measures to keep vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying conditions safe.
● Visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted-living facilities is now limited to visits involving essential care only.
● Businesses are encouraged to enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.
Tennessee received economic injury disaster loan declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration.Small businesses and nonprofit organizations that suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2 million per applicant to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses. Applicants should contact SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Governor Lee and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced they will make it easier for workers who lost jobs due to COVID-19 to get unemployment relief. Click for additional resources for employers and employees.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has postponed the tax filing deadline to July 15.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has postponed the REAL ID compliance deadline to Oct. 1, 2021.
Gannett, the owner of USA TODAY and more than 260 daily local media properties, has launched a new website that allows users to support local businesses in their community by buying gift cards for use at a later time. Visitors and business owners can also add local businesses to the platform.
Last week, President Trump urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel, groups of 10 or more people and bars and restaurants. The CDC offers additional guidance. When considering plans, check with local leaders and health officials for guidance specific to your region.
For the moment, we have ceased all social messaging via @tnvacation as well as our national marketing campaign to focus on the health of both our visitors and residents.
We encourage you to follow the TDTD Industry Facebook page for tourism industry-related updates during this time including Gov. Lee’s press briefings, webinars hosted by travel agencies and more.
We are tracking attraction and event closures. We appreciate your assistance in sending along the latest information as we share this with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
We have compiled updated talking points and fact-based resources to help inform difficult conversations you’re having with visitors.
With the exception of one, 15 of our 16 Tennessee Welcome Centers continue to provide essential services including ramp access to the center, restroom access and access to picnic areas and vending. These operations are consistent with other states. With limited outdoor space for visitors, the I-40 Welcome Center at the Tennessee/Arkansas border has temporarily suspended service.
TDTD will update this page as the COVID-19 situation develops.