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Tennessee Municipal Public Health Emergency Closures

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Reviewed Date: March 17, 2020

Original Author: 
Ashburn, Melissa
Hodge, Elisha
O'Hara, Stephanie Allen
Date of Material: 
Mar 17, 2020

Public facilities
Public health and safety
Emergency management

Tennessee Municipal Public Health Emergency Closures

MTAS has been asked by several city attorneys whether cities have any authority to prohibit mass gatherings and close businesses. This seems to be the question with which all cities are struggling because no statutory or charter authority is directly on point for a pandemic. The options that are being explored by cities are using the charter police powers and/or declarations of emergencies. Cities could potentially use a combination of both authorities.


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Information written by MTAS staff was based on the law at the time and/or a specific sets of facts. The laws referenced may have changed and/or the technical advice provided may not be applicable to your city or circumstances. Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information posted to this website.