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Tennessee governor ending all statewide restrictions on businesses, gatherings

Tennessee is ending all statewide coronavirus restrictions on businesses and gatherings but also extending its state of emergency over the pandemic, Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced Tuesday.

"I want the economy to move forward," Lee told members of the state legislature on a call Tuesday afternoon, the Tennessean reported"I don't want any business to have any reason to not function as fully as they possibly can. I'm advocating for that in our big six counties, as well."

The governor declared a state of emergency on March 12 and has extended it in 60-day intervals since then. 

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Lee reportedly said that he would extend the state of emergency for as long as the Trump administration does the same, noting that keeping Tennessee's in place is tied to access to federal funding.

The governor plans to impose "no limits on any businesses," urging the state’s cities to repeal local business restrictions as well. The order will allow cities to keep mandates in place if they choose to. 

"They've been good stewards," Lee said. 

New coronavirus cases in Tennessee have increased 3 percent in the past two weeks, according to The New York Times. As of Tuesday, more than 191,000 people have tested positive and nearly 2,400 have died in the state.

Last week, Florida moved to lift all its COVID-19 restrictions while also prohibiting local governments from enforcing their own without justification.