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Gov. Bill Lee extends Tennessee's coronavirus state of emergency through September

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 8/28/2020 Natalie Allison, Nashville Tennessean
a man wearing a suit and tie: Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a press conference in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Tennessee State Capitol Monday, March 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. © Alan Poizner / For The Tennessean Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a press conference in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Tennessee State Capitol Monday, March 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.

The day before Tennessee's current state of emergency was set to expire, Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order extending it on Friday, continuing special coronavirus-related guidelines for individuals, businesses and local governments.

Executive Order 59 extends the COVID-19 state of emergency through Sept. 30, despite Lee being permitted under state law to renew the emergency for an additional 60 days at time. He also signed two other executive orders, 60 and 61, which allow for local governments to continue electronic meetings and permit remote notarization.

Lee's extension of the state of emergency follows recent questions by both legislators and conservative activists about the legality and constitutionality of his emergency authority. A legislative committee will return Thursday to continue discussion about the topic.

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In addition to continuing to urge individuals to wear facial coverings and allowing local governments the option of putting in place their own mask mandates — though not requiring them statewide — Executive Order 59 preserves existing limitations on nursing home visitations.

The order also requires that bars serve customers at appropriately spaced tables, while allowing restaurants to continue selling to-go alcohol with food orders.

Deadlines on various in-person continuing education requirements remain, which remove certain barriers to entering the healthcare workforce.

Execute Order 60, meanwhile, allows government meetings to continue to be held electronically, so long as the governing bodies adhere to transparency requirements and provide the public with access to the proceeding. The order requires that the government entities work toward providing live public access to the meetings by Oct. 1.

Executive Order 61 allows for remote notarization and remote witnessing of documents, so long as certain procedures are followed.

Reach Natalie Allison at nallison@tennessean.com. Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.

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This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Gov. Bill Lee extends Tennessee's coronavirus state of emergency through September

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