COVID-19 Update


State of Tennessee Information

Governor Lee’s Office

Governor Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts regarding COVID-19 relief. On Thursday, he signed Executive Order 23 requiring that Tennesseans stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities as data shows an increase in citizen movement across the state. The executive order remains in effect until April 14th at 11:59 p.m.

Governor Bill Lee does a daily briefing and press conference at 4 p.m. EDT. You can connect to the livestream or archived tapes here.

Here is the link for all of Governor Lee’s Executive Orders.

Here is the website with the COVID-19 Response and Statewide Resources.

Department of Health

Here is the website for the Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 updates. Their Coronavirus Hotline is 877-857-2945 and is available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

What to expect if you were possibly exposed to COVID-19.
What to expect after being tested with COVID-19.
What to expect after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Testing guidance:
Not every patient with respiratory illness needs to be tested for COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home, and there is no treatment specifically approved for this virus. If you have symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath), you are encourage to call your personal medical provider to receive guidance.

COVID-19 Testing Sites
Remote assessment sites for COVID-19 are quickly becoming available through the help of private providers. Remote assessment sites, or “drive through testing” allow Tennesseans to safely pursue COVID-19 testing without creating unnecessary risks in traditional clinical settings.

Remote assessment sites should not be the first course of action for a person seeking a test. If a person is seeking a test and/or showing symptoms they should first call their health care provider. Individuals can be screened for testing by their health care provider or local health department.
A link to testing sites throughout Tennessee can be found here.

Small Business Support
We have been approved for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Tennessee small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 are eligible to apply for disaster loan assistance of up to $2 million per applicant.

Small businesses who are ready to explore these efforts should visit Additional information can be found here. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Expanded Unemployment Relief
The Tennessee Department of Labor will extend unemployment benefits to
employees who suddenly find themselves out of work as businesses temporarily cease operations during the pandemic or to those who are quarantined by a physician for COVID-19 and are temporarily away from their job. For information and resources you can access it here.

Employers will find information explaining how to complete mass layoff lists. These lists help the department process unemployment claims faster, making the entire process more efficient for both the company and its workers.

The department is suspending certain regulations so those who are approved will get paid more quickly. Tennesseans are encouraged to apply online here.

Department of Safety
The Department is waiving its requirement for drivers’ licenses that citizens appear in person and have a new photograph taken through October 1, 2021. This will allow many customers with expiring credentials to renew online and not visit in person.

Non-US citizens with Temporary driver licenses (Class XD and XID) will still need to visit in person to renew those licenses upon expiration of the current license.

All Driver Licenses, Learner Permits, Commercial Driver Licenses, Photo Identification Licenses (ID), and Handgun Carry Permits that would expire between March 12, 2020, and May 19, 2020, will be extended for six (6) months from the original expiration date. The Department will issue a letter of extension to the individuals affected. Affected individuals will be required to keep the letter with them during the extension period.

The deadline for obtaining a Real ID has been extended until October 1, 2021. The Department has temporarily stopped issuing Real IDs. This extension will help make sure we can issue a Real ID to everyone who wants one before the deadline, while making sure people are not coming into centers during this time of social distancing.

They have also extended CDL Medical Certification through June 30, 2020 and current Learner’s Permit for one year. They have also temporarily suspended Knowledge & Skills Test (Road Tests) –Non-CDL.

Department of Revenue
Governor Lee has approved three tax filing extensions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Business tax has been extended to June 15. (this extension only affects taxpayers with a fiscal year that coincides with the calendar year whose returns are due by April 15. The due date for filing and paying Hall income tax and the franchise and excise tax has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

The deadline for March and April vehicle registration renewals is extended to June 15th.

More information about these extensions is available here.

Department of Education
Governor Lee announced that all public schools in Tennessee are closed through April 24th. This will possibly be extending depending on the status of COVID-19 in Tennessee. Updates and resources for educators, families and students can be found
here. District and school staff will make decisions about the best way to support student learning during time away from school. A district must understand the digital capacity of its community, the devices available to students, and the flexibility parents, teachers, and school leaders have to support the needs of students.

Department of Human Services
The Department of Human Services is offering several programs and services to assist Tennesseans impacted by COVID-19.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF): This emergency cash assistance program will provide cash payments to families significantly impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. Beginning March 26, families are able to apply online for up to two months of emergency cash assistance if they were employed as of March 11th and they’ve lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income as a result of the pandemic. It will provide between $500 and $1,000, depending on household size, to qualifying families. Applicants can complete the application process online here.

There is help with child care payment assistance and relaxed regulations for child care providers. The Department is partnering with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to make $10 million in new assistance available to help licensed child care
agencies that were impacted by the COVID-19 and the recent tornado disaster.

Relief for Local Governments
The budget that was passed by the General Assembly a couple weeks ago allocates $200 million to provide specific support and relief to our county and city governments in the wake of this pandemic.

These are not everything but are a recap of some of the ones of most interest.

Federal Resources

Here is general information from the CDC regarding COVID-19.
For travel advice from the CDC.
For frequently asked questions from the CDC.
For CDC’s situation summary
Here is information from the White House regarding COVID-19.
The World Health Organization situation report

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. Click Here

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT)
Recovery Check Frequetly Asked Questions

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment. For more information click here

The Paycheck Protection Program provides eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to small employers who keep paying their employees during this emergency. you have questions about the federal paid leave requirements related to the Ccoronavirus?
The U.S. Labor Department’s Fact Sheet for Employees here.
Questions and answers here.

Local Resources

Knox County
The Knox County Health Department is the best local source for COVID-19 information, which includes information about the Knox County’s Safer at Home Order and a list of Frequently Asked Questions. The local Health Department also has a COVID-19 public information line: Dial 865-215-5555 or 888-288-6022. The information line is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Click here for more information

This is a one-stop source for all the latest information regarding Knox County case count, updated guidance and helpful information. The site is updated daily with the latest case numbers posted by 11 a.m.

Mayor Glenn Jacobs office announced that Knox County will pay for COVID-19 testing for uninsured residents through the Knox County Health Department. It’s important to note that to qualify, those without insurance must first call KCHD at 865-215-5555. KCHD staff will assess patients over the phone to determine testing options. Residents must be symptomatic and meet clinical guidelines to be tested.

City of Knoxville
In the City of Knoxville’s ongoing effort to keep the public informed, in particular when their offices are closed, or in the case of sudden increases in volume, they have created this intuitive, easy to use Chatbot to help answer questions regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) as well as the upcoming Census. You can connect to it here.
The United Way of Greater Knoxville’s 211 information system can also serve as the public conduit to how assistance can be received.

The City has expanded its website information related to COVID-19 closures and cancellations of events at City facilities. Visit

Drive Through Testing

Dr. Martha Buchanan announced that drive-thru testing prepared in conjunction with Kroger would be held this Friday and Saturday (4/3-4) at the Knoxville Zoo parking lot. Anyone getting the testing will have to be pre-approved and obtain an appointment. More details on location and hours will be released later today. Walk-ups will not be accepted.

To request an appointment, Knox County residents should call Kroger Health (The Little Clinic) at 1-888-837-8852 and answer a few questions about your symptoms. If approved, a Kroger Health Call Center Associate will call you back to confirm your appointment and take additional information.

What You Can Do

You can take your health into your own hands! During flu and respiratory illness season, it’s always important to remember standard hygiene/infection control measures. These include:
• Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing/coughing with your elbow or a tissue
• Avoid close contact with those who are sick
• Stay home when sick
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
• Wash hands properly

For information on State Senators including phone numbers and email addresses, click Tennessee State Senators.

For House members, click Tennessee House Members
For all other information on the General Assembly including legislation, schedules and videos, click Tennessee General Assembly

As always thank you for continued support!


Becky Massey
District 6 Senator