Rocky Law Explains What the “Safer at Home” Order Means for You

As of yesterday, all residents of Metro Nashville and Davidson County were officially under what has been titled the “Safer at Home” Order which will remain in effect for 14 days. Beginning today, March 24, 2020, all Sumner County residents will also be under the “Safer at Home” Order to remain in effect for at least 7 days but may be extended beyond that duration.

This is a first for all of us and we understand that you may have a lot of questions.   We’ve compiled the need-to-know information from that Order into an easy-to-follow guide below explaining how best to protect you and your family.

First and Foremost:

This Order is being issued to protect the public health of the citizens of Nashville and Davidson County and Sumner County, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, to bend the curve, and to disrupt the spread of the virus, with the goal of saving lives and reducing strain on regional healthcare resources as much as possible.

Residents are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.”  This Order is still considered to be a practice of “social distancing” but it is in fact, a stricter version.


What you are being asked to do

Shelter at home as much as possible.


Things you can still do

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers
  • Use rideshare services and/or metro public transit ONLY when absolutely necessary for essential travel while still vigiliantly practicing the caveots of social distancing listed below


Things you definitely shouldn’t do

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.


When you do leave the house, you should continue to practice “social distancing”

  • Stay at least six feet apart
  • Assume others are infectious, regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms.
  • Avoid all gatherings
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited
  • Practice continous handwashing and santitizing of surfaces you may touch at while performing essential activities
  • Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Make every effort to reduce the time you are outside of the home
  • Do not go out if you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus


Is the Safer at Home Order legally enforceable?

You’re darn right.



Coronavirus Infection Rate Easily Explained


Closure Order issued for all non-essential businesses and services

All businesses not performing essential services shall close their business facilities, subject to exceptions stated in this Order. Facilities shall remain accessible as needed to service computer and other equipment, process mail, and maintain security.


What businesses are considered non-essential?  

  • On-site activities at hospitality, educational, and entertainment venues, businesses, and facilities are directed to close to the public.  (On-line activities and deliveries through these businesses may continue).
  • Personal appearance businesses, including hair, nail, massage, tattoo, tanning, waxing, and other such facilities are directed to close, except when the service is medically necessary.
  • Public and private social clubs are directed to close.


This Order does not apply to the following 16 sectors and businesses and their employees as they have been identified by the Department of Homeland Security as essential services to protect the health and well-being of all individuals residing or working in Nashville, Davidson and across Sumner County.


What businesses are considered essential?  

  • Federal and state offices and services, and private companies or individuals performing under federal, state, or local government contracts;
  • Essential government functions including, but not limited to, law enforcement, public transportation, and businesses that provide government programs and services, including functions assisting economically disadvantaged populations and individuals experiencing homelessness;
  • Companies providing media, communication and telecommunication services;
  • Grocery and beverage stores, farmers markets, food banks, caterers, convenience stores selling food, agriculture, food manufacturing and processing, feed mills, and other businesses that directly support the food supply, including but not limited to farming, livestock, and food cultivation;
  • Health care, mental and behavioral health, biomedical research, laboratory services, and other businesses that directly support the healthcare industry including, but not limited to, health information technology, staffing and supplies;
  • Sanitation and waste removal;
  • Energy, water, and sewage businesses and services;
  • Pharmacies, medical supply, and other businesses that directly support the drug and medical supply pipeline;
  • Vehicle fuel, support, and service stations, vehicle parts and repair businesses, and vehicle sales, leasing and renta_l businesses;
  • Banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, accounting businesses, and other business that directly support the insurance and financial services sectors;
  • Real property marketing, leasing, purchase, and sale services;
  • Legal and judicial services;
  • Laundromats, laundry, and cleaning services;
  • Home and business structure and equipment repair, hardware, building supply, and appliance sale and repairs;
  • Warehousing and storage facilities;
  • Construction, architectural, engineering, or surveying services;
  • Product logistics, transport, and distribution businesses;
  • Parcel transportation and delivery businesses;
  • Veterinary and pet supply business and services;
  • Home and business cleaning and maintenance services;
  • Educational institutions, public and private K-12 schools, private colleges and universities, trade schools, post-secondary, and technical colleges, but only as needed to facilitate online or distance learning and essential functions;
  • Landscaping and nurseries;
  • Production, distribution, and sale of household consumer goods such as cleaning and personal care products;
  • Essential building maintenance and security;
  • Individuals whose job functions require them to be at their work location and who are essential to preserving the information systems, accounting, and human resource infrastructures of any business which is otherwise in substantial compliance with this order;
  • Nonprofit entities providing support and assistance to victims of the tornado that struck Nashville on March 3, 2020, and the COVID-19 epidemic; and
  • Other businesses and services that may be determined are essential for the continued safety and security of Davidson County.


The following businesses may remain open subject to compliance with the following conditions:

  • Daycare and childcare businesses shall prioritize children of parents working for essential infrastructure sectors, businesses, or service providers to the extent practicable.
  • Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, adult day care centers, home health businesses, and senior residential facilities shall follow CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene to the extent practicable. Non-essential social and educational programs at senior citizen and other assisted living communities and centers shall end until further notice.
  • Hotels, short term rental properties, commercial lodges, and dormitories shall cease entertainment or dine-in services, subject to allowing food and beverage pick-up and room-service.

Special help for seniors?


Essential services, especially grocery stores and pharmacies, shall make best efforts to establish hours of operations during which their services are available only to senior citizens or otherwise vulnerable populations. Some stores are even setting aside special stock for seniors that might otherwise be unable to compete for commonly hoarded food items at the grocery store.  Call ahead to your grocer before going to the store to find out their senior hours and any other special policies they may have enacted to help seniorsget what they need more quickly and safely at the grocery store.


Essential services must adhere to CDC protocol during COVID-19

Essential services shall continue to adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene in the workplace, including encouraging work-from-home and allowing employees when possible to work on-site in shifts to optimize social distancing in the workplace, where possible.

The Order encourages essential businesses and services to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures they can safely utilize.

Is your workplace following these guidelines and procedures?


What changes has Rocky McElhaney Law Firm made?  

At Rocky Law Firm, our clients can rest assured that we are not taking these matters lightly.   We are doing everything in our power to protect our employees, our clients and their families from the spread of the Coronavirus. We’ve made the transition to working from home much more successfully than many other firms and businesses who are still struggling with the difficulties the enormous undertaking can present.  We believe this is in large part due to the smart, dedicated team of people who work at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm and our constant drive to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. Whether it’s from home or the office our team continues to work cohesively and move our clients’ cases forward toward the resolutions they deserve. We fight for you!

Have questions or need a free case review?  Call us today at 615.208.6065 or complete our contact form.



Staying informed with accurate information is the first step in getting through this and not having a daily panic attack.  At Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we do not underestimate the power of this pandemic but we do stand firm in our belief that we can overcome it by doing the right things to stop the spread of COVID-19 — together.  We know these are scary, uncertain and difficult times for many folks.  We will continue to shoulder those burdens with you and deliver new information and updates right here at and across our social media as they become available.

Stay well, my friends.

—Rocky McElhaney