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The original item was published from 3/30/2020 4:43:42 PM to 5/1/2020 12:00:06 AM.

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Bristol News

Posted on: March 30, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Safer at Home Health Order issued for Sullivan County, local emergency declared for City of Bristol

Officials from the Sullivan County Regional Health Department have issued a Safer at Home Health Order for the citizens of Sullivan County effective beginning at 12:01 AM EDT on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 that will remain in effect until further notice. The order was signed by Health Officer Dr. Stephen May in order to mitigate the regional impact of COVID-19, reduce the strain on healthcare resources and ultimately save lives.

This order urges citizens to shelter at home as much as possible except when engaging in essential activities. These include:

  • Trips to the grocery store or pharmacy
  • Medical appointments
  • Visiting restaurants for take-out or drive-thru service
  • Caring for friends and family members in need
  • Enjoying outdoor recreation.

CDC guidance on proper hand hygiene and social distancing, such as maintaining a distance of six feet between people, should continue to be followed at all times.

The order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people and orders the closure of businesses not performing essential services as determined by health department officials. Directives are provided for certain essential businesses that remain in operation, and the order does not apply to activities supporting the critical infrastructure sectors described at

In conjunction with the Safer at Home Health Order, Bristol, Tennessee Mayor Margaret Feierabend and City Manager Bill Sorah also issued an Executive Order proclaiming a local and civil emergency within the City of Bristol, Tennessee. Following declarations by President Donald Trump and Governor Bill Lee that proclaimed emergencies related to the COVID-19 outbreak at the national and state levels, this order recognizes that extraordinary measures must be taken to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare.

“Many of our friends and neighbors still seemingly have a false sense of security about the impact that the coronavirus could have here in Sullivan County, perhaps due to our case numbers appearing relatively low compared with other parts of the state,” said Feierabend. “The reality is that we all must take serious steps now to avoid a more dire situation in the future.”

The declaration incorporates the provisions of previous Executive Orders issued by Governor Lee pertaining to COVID-19, as well as the recommendations included in the health department’s Safer at Home Health Order.

“Certainly we’ve begun to see the effects that COVID-19 has had on our community, both in economic terms and in the ways that it has already altered the way we think about access to healthcare and critical supplies,” noted Sorah. “Based on trends that health officials are seeing across the country, Bristol is still on the uphill side of the curve. A declaration such as this is necessary to help flatten that curve and ensure that the demand for resources does not exceed our capacity to provide them,” he added.

For the full text of these orders, as well as additional information about the City of Bristol’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit

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