Gov. Bill Lee

Paris and Henry County officials look over Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 17 during a joint meeting Sunday afternoon at the Henry County Courthouse. Seen from left is Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo, Paris City Manager Kim Foster, Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell, County Mayor Brent Greer and Sheriff Monte Belew.

The leaders of Paris and Henry County government voiced their support Sunday for Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order to help protect Tennesseans from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henry County Mayor Brent Greer and Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell called a joint meeting of city and county officials Sunday afternoon to discuss Lee’s Executive Order No. 17 issued late Sunday morning in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Tennessee.

According to the order, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Tennesseans were to not gather in groups of 10 or more; and all restaurants, bars and similar food or drink establishments, including nightclubs, shall not be open to persons except to offer drive-through, pick-up, carry-out or delivery service for food or drink.

The executive order also asks persons to stay away from nursing homes, retirement homes or long-term care facilities, unless to provide essential services or to visit residents receiving imminent end-of-life care, provided such visits may be accomplished without unreasonable risk to other residents.

“Henry County and the City of Paris are in support of Governor Lee’s Executive Order No. 17,” Greer and Gerrell said in a joint statement. “We understand this pandemic outbreak continues to impact our city and county and is causing a hardship on our community, especially our workforce. However, this is a necessary action to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.”

Ronald Watkins, county emergency management director, was on hand as an adviser.

“We still have not had a confirmed COVID-19 case in the county; however, it is very likely this will change as more COVID-19 tests are being conducted,” Watkins said. “Statewide confirmed case total stands at 505. 

This is why it is important for the public to follow (Center for Disease Control) recommendations to limit exposure to reduce the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. This continues to be an escalating situation.”

On Friday, both the county and city announced changes to public access for governmental buildings. Access to such buildings is being restricted as a precautionary measure to increase safety for employees and the public.

“Government services will continue as normal as possible,” said Kim Foster, Paris city manager. “Paris residents should not see any disruption of essential services.”

Sheriff Monte Belew and Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo both assured the public that law enforcement officers are operating normally and emergency services will continue to operate and respond as needed.

The American Red Cross and Lifeline Blood Services are seeing a shortage of blood donations. City and county officials stressed that it is safe to give blood, and that blood donation sites are exempt from group limits. In addition, officials emphasized that the collection of blood is an essential service for our community.

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