State Democratic lawmakers call governor’s decision to reopen Tennessee dangerous

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The idea of reopening the economy is becoming a reality in Tennessee, as Gov. Lee announced Monday his statewide Safer at Home order will expire at the end of the month.

Some state Democratic lawmakers called the decision to reopen so soon dangerous.

“The Tennessee House Democrats are in favor of opening the state, but not at the peril of one single life in the state of Tennessee,” Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) said.

Representatives said this shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but one that considers the health of constituents who have expressed concerns.

“People say that we should not open up,” Rep. London Lamar (D-Memphis) said. “People do not agree with this decision. Individuals are nervous.”

Rep. Lamar noted the state hasn’t seen a decrease in cases, and this could compromise all of the work done to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“What that tells us is that social distancing is currently working,” Rep. Lamar said. “Again it’s working, and it’s something that needs to continue until we see a significant decrease in the number of cases.”

The governor’s plan for reopening businesses doesn’t include the state’s largest counties like Shelby County, but representatives said that could actually make things worse.

“If you open up rural communities or other counties, you’re still going to have travel from one county to another, which is still going to contribute possibly to the spread of the virus in other areas,” Rep. Parkinson said.

Gov. Lee’s order expires at the end of the month with a phased reopening, excluding the state’s six largest counties. Those counties will each develop their own plans to reopen.

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