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VOL. 44 | NO. 13 | Friday, March 27, 2020

Tennessee rolls out celebrity social distancing campaign

Updated 11:38AM
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NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee is producing a series of public service announcements designed to encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The campaign has the tag line, "Do your part, stay apart," and features Gov. Bill Lee and first lady Maria Lee plus other prominent Tennesseans.

Brad Paisley, University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway, former NFL Titan Eddie George, University of Tennessee athletics director Phil Fulmer, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith and Cece Winans are among the dozens of music artists, athletes and sports organizations participating in the campaign via social media, according to a news release. Collectively, they reach millions of Tennesseans through their social media platforms.

"The participants have recorded messages from the safety of their homes to emphasize that Tennesseans should stay home as much as possible, avoid gathering with friends, at church or in any unessential activity — and outside the home to maintain a six-foot distance from others," according to the release.

The campaign will begin on social media and then be broadcast by Charter Communications and Comcast and promoted on billboards through Outdoor Advertising Association Tennessee.

Lee on Sunday ordered bars and restaurants to close for 14 days with the exception of take-out and delivery services. Lee's order also closed gyms, barred most visitors to nursing homes, and prohibited social gatherings of 10 or more people. He urged residents to work from home but has stopped short of requiring it.

A group of more than 2,000 Tennessee health care providers has signed a petition urging Lee to issue an immediate stay-at-home order. They have argued that without more aggressive action, tens of thousands of Tennesseans could die.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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