Sevier Co. leaders can't force businesses to close, but "strongly advise" following guidelines

Source: (City of Pigeon Forge)

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Sevier County leaders, including those from the cities of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pittman Center, are urging area businesses to listen to federal and state guidelines concerning the coronavirus. That includes limiting groups of more than 10 people.

"Individuals and local businesses must play a role in limiting the spread of the virus," Sevier County government leaders said in a joint release. "The CDC and Tennessee Department of Health have directives and guidelines to help slow COVID-19. We encourage everyone to follow these guidelines to ensure the safety of the public. We implore our citizens to follow these guidelines."

The release goes on to say that they are consulting with legal advisers to see what kind of action they can take. WVLT viewers have reached out to us saying it appears business as normal in the Smokies, despite major attractions closing their doors.

"After consulting with our legal advisors, it is not clear that the cities or county have the authority to close businesses at this time, during this stage of the public health crisis," the release said. "However, we strongly advise that all of our businesses and citizens follow the advice of the CDC and the state of Tennessee."

As of March 19, Tennessee had at least 154 cases of coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 WVLT News. All rights reserved.