Tennessee lifts group limit to 50 for social and recreational activities despite coronavirus

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Gov. Bill Lee, flanked by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, right,, and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, left,, speaks during a press conference at Wilson Air Center on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Friday signed his latest COVID-19 executive order, No. 38, which increases the number of people who can participate in social and recreational activities from 10 to 50.

It also allows the resumption of festivals, fairs, parades, large parties, picnics, sporting events, summer camps and more under certain guidelines.

It's the latest action by the Republican governor to relax or end his previous executive orders on Tennesseans, businesses and other areas of the economy as Lee engages in a delicate balancing act.

Lee is hoping to keep a lid on rising infections of the potentially deadly coronavirus while reviving an economy flattened by the disease, which sparked a modern-day record 14.7% unemployment rate among Tennesseans.

As of Friday, according to the state health department's website, Tennessee had 19,394 people with active positive cases, up 433 since Thursday, and 315 total deaths, up by two.