Data from local and national medical experts shows that the novel coronavirus 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.

Today, Mayor Andy Berke signed Executive Order 2020-06, which includes several additional steps the City of Chattanooga is taking to protect residents and keep our community safe. Effective Friday, April 3, 2020, Mayor Berke is:

  • Directing everyone in Chattanooga to observe a comprehensive shelter in place order. This means 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 parks and public spaces like the Walnut Street Bridge. 

In the last 24 hours, multiple states, including Georgia, have put similar restrictions into place. We know how disruptive and painful these actions will be for many, many Chattanoogans. We have not come to these decisions easily, but the fact is that the coronavirus is still infecting far too many people in our city far too quickly. Our local medical experts tell us that our local hospital systems will quickly be at their capacity if we do not limit its spread. 

The more we can contain the spread of COVID-19 in Chattanooga now, the sooner we can get back to normal.

These are scary and unusual times, but our city is built on a spirit of collaboration and creativity. In the toughest of times, when Chattanoogans pull together, we can get through anything.

The most important thing you can do right now is stay home to limit your — and other people’s — exposure to the virus. Thank you for all that you’ve done so far and all that I know you will continue to do to keep our city safe.