(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Monday morning, Dr. Martha Buchanan, the Knox County Public Health Officer, issued a safer at home order for Knox County. The order closed all non-essential business for 14 days and strongly encourages residents of Knox County to stay home when possible and avoid groups of more than 10 for non-essential purposes.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, all non-essential business in Knox County will close for 14 days. In a press release, the Knox County Health Department said that the decision was made in order to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19, further preventing the spread of the disease in Knox County.

“We understand the significant and, in many cases, devastating impact this will have on our families and local businesses, but we are hopeful this action will help save lives,” Buchanan said in a press release. “Now is a time for our community to come together and support each other in several ways: protecting those most at risk of serious illness and finding creative ways to support individuals and businesses most affected by this order.”

Businesses with questions are advised to call 3-1-1. Anyone else with questions or concerns are encouraged to call the KCHD’s public information line at at 865-215-5555 or toll-free at 888-288-6022 from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST or the Tennessee Department of Health’s public information line at 877-857-2945 from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. EST.

As of March 23, there are five cases of COVID-19 in Knox County.

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