Chattanooga Police Could Fine People $50 for Going Against Mayor Andy Berke’s COVID-19 Orders


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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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Chattanooga Police Officer” by Chattanooga Police Department.






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9 Thoughts to “Chattanooga Police Could Fine People $50 for Going Against Mayor Andy Berke’s COVID-19 Orders”

  1. A Citzen Traveler

    So I’m exercising my constitutionally-guaranteed Right to travel (as I see fit) on federal and state highways through Chattanooga. I need to stop for gas, bathroom, food, etc. Those places are open. Q.F.E.D. – if there is such a problem, why are ANY businesses open? Including the Mayor’s Office?

    Your orders are exposed by biology and viral research to be nothing more than attempts to exercise “my authoritah”. Stop me and write me a ticket; I will not pay it. I will demand, as the actual Constitution guarantees me, a Right by Trial of MY Peers. Educated sworn-by-oath to support & defend peers Arrest me and put me in jail, exposing me to death by infection, then if I survive I will exercise my Right to after-the-fact proactive-against-future -reciurrences Self-Defense, If I don’t survive, my extended family will . . .

    It is long past time for any and all government officials to read the Law of the Land, as it is written, not interpreted by corrupt courts, and understand that people are reaching the end of any tolerance for egotistic power-mad officials. America is not yet a third-world county. I’ve been in more than a few and you should thank your god we’re not.

    If I were the Mayor of any city and my staff brought such a proposal to me, every single one of them would be in Coventry. The fact that mayors don’t fire such people tells us all we need to know.

  2. Guairdean

    As a wise man once said: “Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed regularly and for the same reason.”

  3. The Lovely Lover Lisa Page

    Mayor Berke can GFY. This Chattanooga lockdown is over. We are not waiting for him to open our city. Our rights are not granted him. I see his he is making his rounds on the national circuit like CNN and the Hill. Thats great. Now he can run for the Senate. Get him the hell out of our city.

  4. Horatio Bunce

    Just like the speed trap town kangaroo courts (or the fraud red light/speed scameras) the coward in Chattanooga must limit the “fine” to $50 to avoid the constitutionally required jury trial for a fine or consideration thereof greater than $50. But then the corrupt municipal government will simply bill you for hundreds in “court costs” for their kangaroo bench trial run only by those who are goverment employees ( both the “prosecution” revenue agent and the “judge”) who therefore have direct financial conflicts of interest in stealing from you with their unconstitutional edicts. Can’t have the possibility of a jury of your peers evaluating their corrupt tyranny.

  5. Trixie Belden

    Yes Mayor Andy, we can see how “reluctant” you are to use government power. Ugh. What I found even more disturbing was the huge number of comments on his Facebook page from people clamoring for longer restrictions. This is setting a nasty precedent. Keeping citizens “safe” is a very subjective concept, and we’re seeing how prone to abuse it can be. So sorry for the people in Chattanooga who just want to go about their lives and can’t because of this guy.

  6. Pissed Off Nashvillian

    If only Chattanooga shamed its drug users like they do their Church goers.

  7. Wolf Woman

    “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” I am a member of the US Congress for 40 years and never held another job, a state politician who’s a multi-millionaire with connections to China, a local politician with a big smile and a struggling head of state with bad hair who loves his country, a tyrannical head of state with great hair who loves China and his fancy socks. I am an academic and researcher and I want to keep getting grants for my projects and the Chinese communists who I’m working with; I’m a doctor and an expert in infectious disease and it will be a scourge until there’s a vaccine; I’m a immunologist with so many degrees there’s not enough room on my wall to put them up and there are drugs on the market now which will help people get over this disease.

    And then there are those other experts who want to help us, the bureaucrat from Africa, Chinese communist party leaders, famous singers and Hollywood actors, , media reporters whose jobs depend on click bait and sensationalism, IT billionaire technocrats with vast investments in big Pharma, etc. (Lord, save me from all this help!)

    The Swedes didn’t go hide out “sheltering in place” as we did. They quarantined the most vulnerable, the old and feeble, the at-risk-sick and avoided large crowd functions. They didn’t stop their economy and cause a terrible loss of jobs and businesses. Now the Swedish deaths are peaking and they have “crowd immunity.”” And if you take away the numbers of the international city of NYC, our death rate is about the same per capita.

    So, we will have to go through waves of new cases of the virus until the majority of the population is immune. As my old Aunt Joyce said, “What ever happened to common sense?”

    The good news is that we the people learned we can face an unknown fear, be kind and help each other and ourselves in many creative ways, and see clearly the scum of tyranny rise to the top of the half-full glass.

  8. Kevin

    Of course! Duh, they need to refill the treasury somehow. It looks a lot better to be fining those dang “criminals” than to raise taxes on law abiding citizens. Then come election time, “I never raised taxes…”

  9. M. Flatt

    I hope the good people of Chattanooga/Hamilton County flood the e-mail inboxes and voice mail of their lawmakers with a resounding “NO!”. If such an ordinance is passed, it will set the precedent for other cities and encourage “crises” to appear more often.
    In fact, the person who most should stand up and say “No” is the head of the police force. If that person decides to not enforce that ordinance…