COVID-19: Info & Resources for Tennessee’s artists and arts sector

Latest Updates

Support for Small Businesses

Wednesday, March 25 – Gov. Bill Lee​ announced that Tennessee has received a declaration for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per applicant to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have otherwise been met.

Applicants can apply online at

Public Health Resources

Thursday, March 12, 2020 – Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 14 declaring a state of emergency in Tennessee to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19.

“Today’s action will move us into a position to utilize additional emergency funds as needed and relax provisions of certain laws to provide the flexibility needed to respond to this disease,” said Gov. Lee. “While the risk to the general public remains low, we encourage all Tennesseans to exercise caution and maintain good hygiene practices as there are serious risks to our vulnerable populations. We will continue to evaluate and adapt our position accordingly to fit what we believe is best for Tennesseans.”

Executive Order 14 declares a state of emergency to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19.  To achieve these goals, the order:

  • Implements the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan;
  • Permits health care professionals licensed in other states to provide health care services in Tennessee related to COVID-19;
  • Allows pharmacists to dispense an extra 30-day supply of maintenance prescriptions as needed in response to COVID-19;
  • Allows health care professionals to provide localized treatment to patients in temporary residences;
  • Expands testing sites for COVID-19;
  • Allows the construction of temporary health care structures in response to COVID-19;
  • Implements price-gouging protections on medical and emergency supplies;
  • Suspends restrictions on vehicles transporting emergency supplies to areas affected by COVID-19;
  • Permits the waiver of certain regulations on childcare centers as needed to respond to the effect of COVID-19;
  • Authorizes TennCare policy changes to ensure that covered individuals receive medically necessary services without disruption; and
  • Directs coordination with health insurance plans to improve access to screening, testing, and treatment for COVID-19.

Vulnerable populations should stay home where possible and avoid large gatherings or locations where they are more likely to contract the virus. Vulnerable populations include older adults and adults with underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illness. Non-essential visits to nursing homes and hospitals are strongly discouraged.

The full text of Executive Order No. 14 can be found here.

Up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Tennessee can be found here.

Governor Lee Issues Statement Regarding Statewide School Closure

NASHVILLE, Tenn. March 16, 2020 – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued the following statement regarding statewide school closure:

“As the response to COVID-19 evolves, I urge every school district in Tennessee to close as soon as practically possible, with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20, 2020 at the latest. Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020 to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31. Superintendents and local leadership have the full support of my administration to determine effective dates for closure this week as they evaluate what is best for families within their respective districts. We understand the tremendous burden school closure places on families and we will continue to work with both the federal government and school districts to ensure we continue essential supports like meals for students in need. Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”

Tennessee Department of Health (TDH):

TDH has launched a Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line in partnership with the Tennessee Poison Center. The hotline number is 877-857-2945 and will be available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central daily. Call volume has been high; callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.

People with concerns about their health should contact their health care providers. TDH has additional information available at The CDC has updated information and guidance available online at

Members can call their health care provider’s office to be evaluated over the phone instead of going to their office if they think they have coronavirus or have been exposed to it. They may send them to an FDA-approved testing lab instead of their office.

All decisions should be made with the advice of and within the context of, your local public health and other governmental officials. The CDC also offers advice for your home, workplace and arts venues:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Updated daily with the latest national information about COVID-19, this page provides specific information, such as the following:
Information for communities, schools, and businesses, including

  • Resources for large community events & mass gatherings
  • Resources for Businesses and Employers

General Preparedness Resources

Additional Resources

See resouces from National Endowment for the Arts

See Facts from National Endowment for the Arts

See resources form Americans for the Arts

See resources from Arts Education Partnership

See ArtsReady article from South Arts

Information During the Impact of the Coronavirus from Americans for the Arts

The arts community’s response to the COVID-19 public health crisis has been collaborative and in solidarity. Here we offer updated resources to help you operate within an unknown and constantly-changing environment, for artists, managers/agents, funders, and arts organizations.

The economic and legal impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector 

Americans for the Arts is gathering data and impact stories. The survey will capture a broad spectrum of data and stories that will demonstrate how the arts and culture workers survived this crisis as well as the effect of the outbreak on operations through cancelled events, lost wages, and additional expenses. AFTA asks you to respond, and encourages you to share this survey with your communities.

Federal relief for the non-profit arts sector

Congress and the Administration are approving new forms of federal economic assistance. Artists, arts organizations and arts supporters can join with others in the arts and nonprofit sector to speak up to ensure that relief will meet all community needs. Learn how you can help the arts get critical support.

Brian D. Bumby with GG Arts Law offers this legal guidance (not legal advice!) on issues including cancellations, Force Majeure, and travel restrictions.

How Dancers and Dance Organizations [and other performing arts] Can Prepare for the Financial Fallout of COVID-19. This interview with Jan Newcomb, executive director of NCAPER (the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response), addresses things artists and organizations can be doing today to mitigate your situation and become more informed.

The Event Safety Alliance is making several key resources available for free or at reduced cost, including the Event Safety Guide, and Event Safety Access core safety training.

Resources for Freelance and Teaching Artists

A State-by-State Resource Guide for Music Professionals Who Need Help During Coronavirus Crisis

Emergency Funding

National Grants/Relief Funds from 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organizations & Unions

Teaching & Learning Resources

Health and Mental Health Resources

Temporary/Remote Job Opportunities

Best Practices for Work Online

Resources to Help Ensure Accessibility of Your Virtual Events for People with Disabilities from the NEA

Below are some ways to create an inclusive experience for your virtual and digital events. Please let us know of other recommendations or needs from the field to better serve people with disabilities by emailing The National Endowment for the Arts does not endorse any vendors, but during this national emergency, the Office of Accessibility believes it is important to provide these resources to the arts community, including some examples of vendor options. You can find other vendors via internet search and recommendations from colleagues or from state or local disability agencies or organizations. Also, please note that this is a high-level overview and not a detailed how-to guide.

Communication tip: Be sure to include contact information on your website or event registration for requesting an access accommodation.

Streamed and live-streamed performances

  • Will the performance be live-captioned (preferred) or can the captions be included and synced up for later streaming?
  • Will you provide sign language interpretation in American Sign Language? (ASL) Many platforms allow sign language interpretation alongside the performance or discussion.
  • Consider adding visual description of your performance videos for people with vision disabilities. The American Council of the Blind has information on audio description, and a list of audio description vendors.

Virtual exhibitions and collections

  • Will all images include alternative text for people who are blind or have low vision and use screen-reading software? Alternative text (also called “alt attribute”, “alt text”, or “alt-tag”) is a visual description of an image that can be added using image formatting tools to describe the image for screen-reader users. Social media platforms also allow users to add alt text to their images before they are posted.
  • Ensure videos are captioned and consider adding visual description (see above).

Videoconferencing & webinars

  • Will the webinar be live-captioned? Note: Since webinars provide a platform for people to ask questions and interact with the speakers in real time, live captions allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to participate in real time.
  • Are presenters making their material as accessible as possible? Be sure to:
    • Describe all images used in the presentation.
    • Use text that is high-contrast and in a large, legible font. Avoid italics and specialty or decorative fonts.
    • Balance the need to provide visual information for visual learners with the need to keep the text concise.

Online Learning Events

  • Do your students need accommodations, such as real-time captioning or ASL (American Sign Language) interpreting?
  • Is there a convenient way for students to request accommodations via phone or email?
  • Are videos captioned? See caption options above.
  • Is the platform accessible for a person who uses screen-reading software, such as a person who is blind or has low vision?
  • Have you communicated with the vendors of the online platforms to understand what their capabilities are for accessibility?
  • #DeafEdTips: E-Learning Accessibility – blog by the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education

Thank you to, National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts and South Arts for many of the resource links.