Reporters grill Gov. Lee about his attendance at group events, while urging others to avoid them

Nov 18, 2020

Gov. Bill Lee answers reporters questions at a COVID-19 press briefing held Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) — Gov. Bill Lee has urged Tennesseans to avoid group gatherings in an effort to bring COVID-19 under control, even as he answers pointed questions about his own attendance at group events.

Lee told reporters during a press conference Tuesday afternoon that Tennesseans need to “stop and think how it is they carry out their lives, especially how they're going to celebrate the holidays."

The governor went on to note his own family has canceled its annual Thanksgiving gathering for the first time in his life.

When reporters noted that Lee had recently held a large Republican fundraiser on his Williamson County farm, the governor noed it was an outdoor event and insisted safety protocols were observed.

Lee also revealed he’ll be attending a statewide, overnight, indoor, GOP retreat beginning Thursday.

This past week, state health officials recorded new all-time highs in Tennessee for COVID-19 related deaths, hospitalizations and the number of new infections confirmed in a single day. Gov. Lee told reporters the state's contact tracing suggests group events and in-home transmission are largely to blame.