Anyone in Chattanooga caught violating Mayor Andy Berke’s executive orders during a civil emergency would have to pay up to a $50 fine, plus court costs, according to a proposed city ordinance.
This, as Berke announced this week on Facebook that he will continue Chattanooga’s shelter-in-place order.
People may read the proposed ordinance, meanwhile, on the city government’s website. The proposed ordinance says “the police department shall enforce a strict observance” of any laws that city officials enact to prevent or control infection, contagious, or malignant diseases.
“This Ordinance shall take effect immediately from and after its passage,” according to the proposal.
Chattanooga is in Hamilton County.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health’s website, as of Tuesday night COVID-19 had killed 12 Hamilton County residents. The TDH website also said 124 county residents tested positive for the virus while 1,616 tested negative. Exactly 71 county residents had gotten the virus and recovered as of Tuesday.
On Facebook, Berke said the Hamilton County Health Department expanded COVID-19 testing last week.
“I got emails from people because there were protests around the country this weekend, including at our community, about the orders. I absolutely respect people’s right to disagree, certainly with me and any other elected official. That is what you should do — speak out. We’re listening to people. I promise each and every one of you that it was not, never has been, and never will be my goal to issue executive orders. That’s not what I want to do. At the same time, we know we are in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic,” Burke said.
“That we’re seeing these responses around the country. That we have to keep people in our community safe. I am reluctant always to use government power, but I also understand that if we don’t keep people safe that there could be drastic health consequences for you, your loved ones, and other people in the community. I take that very seriously as well. So, acting within my legal authority, as we have done since the beginning, is consulting with lawyers, making sure we understand what the parameters are. Everything I am doing is attempting to make sure that people are safe and they’re healthy and that we protect people, listening to experts, and also coming to the best conclusions.”
As The Tennessee Star reported Monday, Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that the state’s order for Tennesseans to remain at home due to COVID-19 will expire April 30. Lee also said the vast majority of businesses in 89 of the state’s 95 counties are allowed to re-open May 1. Hamilton is not among those 89 counties.
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