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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke issues 'Shelter in Place' order for city

The order directs Chattanoogans to stay home for all but the most essential activities, closing parks and public spaces.

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee — On Thursday, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke issued an executive order declaring a city-wide 'shelter in place' and closing 'non-essential' businesses.

Unlike 'Safer at Home' orders which are meant to encourage people to stay home as much as possible and follow social distancing guidelines, 'Shelter in Place' orders take it a step further and direct people that they must remain in their homes for all but the most essential activities.

RELATED: Stay-at-home vs shelter-in-place: Here's what they mean

City-owned parks and public spaces will also be closed. This will also close child care centers and daycare centers to everyone except the children of essential personnel. 

“I need people to stay home,” Mayor Berke added. “We cannot have people gathering in public spaces just because they feel healthy right now. That mindset will place more people at greater risk for much longer.”

In Thursday's news release, Berke's office outlined some of the affected areas:

  • Directing everyone in Chattanooga to observe a comprehensive shelter in place order, meaning that all Chattanoogans must remain in their homes for all but the most critical activities -- going to work at an essential business, getting groceries, or receiving medical attention.
  • Closing additional businesses and putting new health and safety requirements on businesses that must remain open.
  • Closing child care centers and daycare centers to everyone except the children of essential personnel.
  • Suspending access to city-owned parks and public spaces like the Walnut Street Bridge, Stringers Ridge, and Coolidge Park.

“I know how disruptive and painful these actions will be for many, many Chattanoogans but the fact is that the coronavirus is still infecting far too many people in our city far too quickly,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “Medical experts are telling us already that this disease has the potential to completely overwhelm our local hospital systems in the next several weeks. The health of our neighbors is at stake. We don’t have any time to waste. ”

A previous Executive Order from Berke mandated the closure of non-essential businesses that could not comply with social distancing requirements. This order closes all non-essential as outlined by the Order, effective 12:01 a.m., Saturday, April 4, and follows the same guidelines for non-essential businesses as Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 22.

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