Carter County Mayor declares local state of emergency, issues ‘Safer At Home’ directive

Published 11:31 am Monday, March 30, 2020

In response to the continued spread of coronavirus in our region, Carter County Mayor Russell Barnett issued an Executive Order Monday morning declaring a Local State of Emergency and issuing a ‘Safer At Home’ directive for county residents.

“We have been working with local and state health officials for several weeks to monitor the spread of the virus and determine what steps county government can take to help slow the spread of the virus and protect our citizens while still providing the essential services of government,” Barnett said. “Following the recommendation of our state and local health officials as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that states and communities implement aggressive measures to help slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 I declared a Local State of Emergency and issued the ‘Safer At Home’ directive.”

The Local State of Emergency will commence on April 1, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in effect until April 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Under Tennessee state law, county mayors can declare a local state of emergency for a period not to exceed seven days, but the law gives authority to the county mayor to extend the local state of emergency in increments of seven days.

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“We will continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, extend the Local State of Emergency to get us through this challenging time,” Barnett said.

The ‘Safer At Home’ directive which is part of the Executive Order directs all residents living within the unincorporated areas of Carter County to remain at their place of residence unless they are engaged in Essential Activities or to report for work at an Essential Business. Under the order, “Essential Activities” includes things such as task essential to maintain health and safety such as visiting a healthcare provider or pharmacy; obtaining supplies such as groceries and other items needed to maintain safety of their residence; caring for a family member in another household or delivering needed supplies to them; and to perform work providing essential products and services at an essential business.

“I want to continue to urge everyone, especially those at high-risk for severe complications from this virus, to continue following the advice of medical experts regarding frequent handwashing, social distancing and avoiding unnecessary exposure by remaining at home unless absolutely necessary,” Barnett said. “This is a very difficult time for our community, our region, our state, and our nation, but if we work together we can and will get through this.”