Star Staff Reports
Gov. Bill Lee announced on today Tennessee schools are to remain closed for another month.
Last week Lee announced all district across the Volunteer State remained closed until the end of March. Lee’s announcement was the latest in his effort to steer the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor has largely shied away from mandates, as other states have done, and instead urged people, businesses and other institutions to decide for themselves to stay home.
Schools are to remain closed until April 24, and more than half of Tennessee’s 40,000 state employees have been instructed to continue working from home until then.
The governor also said he has activated the Tennessee National Guard, 250 volunteer members of which will be assisting at rural coronavirus testing sites around the state, where the total cases numbered at least 667 on Tuesday afternoon.
Per an executive order Tuesday, driver’s licenses expiring after March 12 will be extended until May 18, and the state is also waiving emissions testing deadlines until that date. REAL IDs won’t be issued until then either, Lee said, since the federal deadline requiring one is also being pushed back.
Lee has also moved back the filing deadline for businesses’ franchise and excise taxes to July 15.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s office, in conjunction with Lee’s administration, has filed an emergency petition with the Public Utility Commission to urge utility companies to suspend disconnections for those who cannot currently make payments.
Officials with the state Department of Commerce and Insurance have requested insurance companies be flexible and avoid canceling insurance policies for non-payment.