The administration remains focused on providing a high-performing government for citizens that is nimble, flexible, and capable of meeting the challenges of this pandemic. Therefore, the City of Chattanooga is taking some bold new steps to ensure the health and safety of our staff and our community as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to infect communities across Tennessee and around the world.
Executive Order 2020-06 FAQs
Executive Order 2020-06 mandates that residents within Chattanooga City Limits must shelter in place, restricts non-essential travel, suspends access to city-owned public spaces, and it also closes all non-essential businesses. It additionally closes child care programs that aren’t serving essential personnel.
This order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Child care programs will have until close of business on Friday April 10, 2020 to determine their eligibility for operations with the City of Chattanooga.
Technically, the executive order remains in effect for seven (7) days, but may be renewed indefinitely by the Mayor. The mandates included in this and our previous executive orders will continue as long as necessary, and Chattanoogans should expect them to remain in place until at least the end of April.
Governor Lee’s “Safer at Home” order contains recommendations for Tennesseans to stay home. Mayor Berke’s “Shelter at Home” directs Chattanoogans to stay home.
The Chattanooga Police Department is looking for voluntary compliance with the order to safeguard public health. Enforcement is a last resort.
If, at some point, officers encounter a business that refuses to comply, the officer(s) will take several steps to gain compliance. CPD's goal is to increase safety, de-densify, and flatten the curve for Chattanooga through an education first approach.
The protocol for addressing any businesses reported to be in possible violation has been and remains as follows:
- Upon identifying a possible location in violation, responding officer(s) will notify a supervisor to respond to the scene. Once a supervisor is on scene, the next steps will be taken.
- Officer(s) will request the responsible party on scene to come outside to conduct business, maintaining all appropriate social distancing to minimize exposure risks.
- Officer(s) will advise the location that they are in violation of the Executive Order.
- Provide the business representative a copy of the Order.
- An opportunity to come into compliance will be offered, as that is the immediate closing of the business and all conditions set forth by the Order will be adhered to while CPD personnel are on scene.
- If the business and responsible party refuse to adhere to the Order, the responsible party could be issued a citation or other enforcement mechanisms.
This order suspends access to all city-operated public spaces, including but not limited to, the Walnut Street Bridge, Coolidge Park, Miller Park, East Lake Park, Brainerd and Brown Acres Golf Courses. It does not restrict access to the Tennessee Riverwalk, as that is jointly owned by the city and the county.
Yes, but keep a minimum of six feet distance from others.
Nothing in this Order shall prohibit any individual from performing or accessing Essential Governmental Functions. “Essential Governmental Functions” means all services needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public as determined by the Mayor of the City of Chattanooga, even if not explicitly described herein. All Essential Governmental Functions shall be performed in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements as defined this Order, to the extent possible.
All travel, including, but not limited to, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit, except Essential Travel and Essential Activities as defined in this Order, is prohibited. “Essential Travel” includes travel for any of the following purposes:
- Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations.
- Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
- Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
- Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction.
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
- Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the City. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the City remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.
Travel to see family members should be limited to caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons only.
The Hamilton County Health Department confirmed that we are seeing community spread in our area. Additionally, medical experts that are part of the mayors’ COVID-19 Joint Task Force overwhelmingly state that the best way to slow, and eventually stop, the spread of COVID-19 is by social distancing. If we are going to get to the other side of this we have to make drastic changes for the health of our community before the peak hits.
This Order closes all non-essential businesses. Under Executive Order 2020-04 only non-essential businesses that could not comply with social distancing requirements were mandated to close.
Yes, as they are considered food service. We are asking liquor stores to refrain from allowing customers inside their stores and conduct business by curbside pick-up and delivery only.
Yes. They are defined as Essential Businesses by the State of Tennessee.
Yes. This includes big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. Please keep in mind that these are often the only grocery options for some neighborhoods.
Yes. We are asking all stores, including big box retail to refrain from allowing customers inside their stores and conduct business by curbside pick-up and delivery only.
Yes. Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated construction as “Essential Infrastructure Business.” If you see construction sites that appear to be out of compliance with proper social distancing or other safety/sanitation measures, please report them to 311.
For the purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” means:
- Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure as defined in this Order; “Healthcare Operations” does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities.
- Grocery and beverage stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other similar establishments. This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
- Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
- Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
- Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
- Banks and related financial institutions
- Hardware stores, home and business repair, construction, and facilities design businesses;
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning, janitorial, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses;
- Businesses providing mailing, shipping and logistic services, including post office boxes;
- Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
- Electronic, cell phone, and internet retail businesses;
- Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take- away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
- Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, medical supplies, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses;
- Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate or facilitate individuals to work from home;
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, or other goods, and those businesses providing exempt services directly to residences; Businesses that provide goods and services exclusively deliver through curbside pickup, drive-thru, shipment or delivery. For example, customers call and place order or order online, then customers pick up goods by curbside pick-up or goods are delivered to the customer. However, customers and employees must still adhere to the social distancing requirements to the greatest extent possible. Businesses can start providing goods by these delivery means even if they did not before.
- Transportation services including buses, airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers (such as Uber and Lyft) providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
- Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children, people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, children, people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;
- Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
- Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging (restaurants and bars on hotel premises must close any dine-in facilities; however, take-out, delivery, and room service is allowed).
- Funeral homes, crematoriums, mortuary and burial services;
- Private waste removal and recycling services;
- Blood donor operations;
- All other critical infrastructure businesses not otherwise listed but identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response issued on March 19, 2020; and
- Any other business that the Mayor determines is essential for the safety and public health of the City.
If the business is not outlined in the Order then Mayor Andy Berke will make the determination per Section 6(xxviii).
Volunteers who are engaged in the delivery of essential social service and/or healthcare work will be permitted to do so.
Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this section, but are strongly urged to obtain shelter, and governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable (and to use COVID-19 risk mitigation practices in their operation). The City’s Homeless Services Division can be contacted at (423) 643-7663.
Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location. Partnership’s Domestic Violence Shelter and Rape Crisis Center remain open. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline is available 24/7 at (423) 755-2700. The Family Justice Center is still open to clients and can be reached at (423) 643-7600.
Call 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471). This is the statewide crisis line, a 24/7/365 call system to help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. All calls are routed to a trained crisis specialist within your area. The service is free. You may also text “TN” to 741741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line and a trained counselor.
This is permitted under the essential business exemptions: "Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children, people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;"
People may use public transit only for purposes of performing Essential Activities or to travel to and from work to operate Essential Businesses or maintain Essential Governmental Functions. People riding on public transit must comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Order, to the greatest extent feasible. This Order allows travel into or out of the City to perform Essential Activities, operate Essential Businesses, or maintain Essential Governmental Functions.
Transportation services including buses, airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers (such as Uber and Lyft) providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes are expressly authorized in this Order;
No. All travel, including, but not limited to automobiles except Essential Travel and Essential Activities is prohibited.
Exercise and outdoor activity is deemed as an “Essential Activity” in this Order. Individuals must comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Order, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, and hiking, dog walking, or running.
Yes, residents may travel to return to their place of residence from outside the jurisdiction.
Yes. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, or other goods, and those businesses providing exempt services directly to residences can still operate. Businesses can start providing goods by these delivery means even if they did not before.
All public and private gatherings of more than ten people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes as expressly permitted by this Order. Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.
Through the COVID-19 Small Business Stabilization Fund (CSBSF) businesses can access grants and loans. To learn more visit connect.chattanooga.gov/covid.
If you feel that your employer is out of compliance with any state or local executive order, please contact the TN Department of Health COVID-19 call center at (615) 741-7247 and report this situation. If you believe that you have been exposed or are at-risk, leave work and contact your primary care physician immediately.
Essential businesses remaining open permitted by the Order must conduct business in such a way to protect the health and safety of the community, employees, vendors, and the general public. This includes compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf) and other applicable state and federal workplace rules. Each workplace is different and its needs and ability to comply with social distancing and other hygienic measures will vary from industry to industry and business to business. OSHA is in the best position to assess a particular operation’s compliance with its Guidance. You may contact the local TN OSHA office at (901) 543-7259.
In addition, you may call the Hamilton County Health Department COVID-19 Call Center at (423) 209-8383 (available to take calls 8:00 a.m. to 4:30pm, Monday-Sunday; if after hours, leave a message and your call will be returned the next day).
If you feel that your employer is out of compliance with any state or local executive order, please contact the TN Department of Health COVID-19 call center at 615-741-7247 and report this situation. If you believe that you have been exposed or are at-risk, leave work and contact your primary care physician immediately.
December 31, 2019
First positive COVID-19 case confirmed in Wuhan province of China.
March 5, 2020
First positive COVID-19 case confirmed in Tennessee.
March 11, 2020
The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was a pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee declared a State of Emergency to deploy additional resources to combat the spread of the virus.
March 13, 2020
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke signs executive order 2020-01, establishing a Communicable Disease Policy for the City of Chattanooga and declaring a state of emergency in Chattanooga, as allowed under the provisions of TCA 58-8-104.
March 19, 2020
Mayor Andy Berke signs executive order 2020-02, suspending dine-in services at bars and restaurants and closing gyms and fitness centers within Chattanooga city limits.
March 20, 2020
Mayor Andy Berke signed Executive Order 2020-03, which provides the mayor with additional emergency management powers during a period of civil emergency, particularly related to obtaining equipment, materials, and supplies for emergency response purposes.
March 23, 2020
Mayor Andy Berke signed Executive Order 2020-04, which closes additional businesses that cannot implement social distancing practices and prohibits mass gatherings of ten or more people.
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO KEEP CHATTANOOGANS SAFE?
As of Friday, March 25, 2020, Mayor Berke:
- Has closed businesses that cannot implement social distancing practice, including all indoor common areas and interior retail shops within shopping centers and malls, Salons, beauty shops, and barbershops, Massage parlors, spas, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors.
- Suspended dine-in service at restaurants and bars and closed gyms. In accordance with Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 17, delivery and takeout of food and alcohol are permitted.
- Implemented additional social distancing and telecommunity policies within city government, which reduced the workforce to 100 percent working from home. This does not apply to fire, police, or sanitation.
- Appointed Katie Wells, his senior policy advisor, to coordinate the office’s response, including working with our regional governmental partners and other community stakeholders to track the situation and ensure that our response is properly aligned with Hamilton County Government, the State of Tennessee, and federal government agencies.
- Suspended public access and activities at the City’s Youth & Family Development Centers, Chattanooga Library branches, and Eastgate Senior Center, effective close of business today.
- Suspended public events at the Tivoli Theatre, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Auditorium, Walker Theatre, and Finley Stadium.
- Changed the event permitting policy to indefinitely suspended the approval of permits for public gatherings.
- Restricted travel for all city employees unless deemed absolutely essential.
- Implemented the Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs) as prepared by the City’s Administrators under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer.
- The COOPs allow for a rolling telecommuting policy to reduce the number of employees in city offices and facilities at any given time. The City of Chattanooga is committed to paying those who are working from home either by City mandate or because of any necessary quarantine.
- Core services such as trash and brush pickup, police and fire services will not be reduced.
- Payment of property taxes, sewer fees, and other financial transactions will still be conducted on the first floor of City Hall, which will remain open during normal business hours at this time.
- The filing of permits and development review will remain open, at this time, at the Development Resource Center (DRC).
Yes. City Hall will remain open to the public during regular business hours at this time. However, as City of Chattanooga employees are practicing social distancing and many working remotely, we encourage Chattanoogans to do the same by utilizing many of our services online or via the phone. This means submitting payments to the Treasury Department online or over the phone, or making an open records request with the City Attorney, or submitting a 311 request. A full list of City facility closures and online services can be found at https://connect.chattanooga.gov/covid/covid-19-city-closures/.
As of right now, these changes are in effect as of the close of business today (March 13, 2020) and will continue indefinitely. City leadership will meet daily to assess the status of COVID-19 and make additional operational adjustments as needed.
CARTA has taken numerous steps to protect their employees and patrons, including:
- Using an additional disinfectant fogger in all vehicles that lasts for 48 hours.
- Additional daily cleaning of buses, including using heavier disinfectant cleaner and commercial-strength Lysol wipes on all commonly touched surfaces
- Additional cleanings of bus stops and transit shelters with commercial-strength disinfectants
- Distributing extra quantities of these products in the garages and common areas
- Distributing additional hand sanitizer to all bus operators and other staff
At this time, no interruptions to CARTA service are anticipated but please know this may change. Contact CARTA staff or visit GoCarta.org for additional information about their operations.
Yes. Mayor Berke, Ms. Wells, and Chief Operating Officer Maura Sullivan spoke several times yesterday with top officials in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health yesterday, all of whom were supportive of these actions and anything else we can do to encourage social distancing.
We are in constant contact with Mayor Coppinger and officials at the Hamilton County Health Department about the status of COVID-19 and their own operational and service delivery decisions.
Please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s COVID-19 update web page for the most up to date information.
The spread of the disease is most effectively slowed by social distancing and reducing interactions among dense groups of people. The most responsible thing we can do right now is encourage people to refrain from close social interaction, while also asking them to wash their hands, disinfect hard surfaces, cover their mouth/noses when they cough/sneeze, and seek medical care if they feel sick. Taking these steps now reduce the risk of further infections or contamination, which helps our doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
Mayor Berke will continue to monitor this situation and will make additional administrative adjustments to the City’s operations, facilities, and delivery of services as needed to protect employees and the public. Daily briefing meetings will be held and operational decisions will be revisited on a weekly basis. City staff will continue to use a variety of communications methods to keep our employees and the general public informed. These include a webpage, the City’s various social media channels, text messages, robocalls, signage on public buildings, and outreach to the local media. The safety and health of our community and employees are the top priority and we appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.
Children. We know that many children and families rely on our YFD centers for more than after-school programming. They are vital resources for tutoring help, fitness, and in many cases, regular meals. We are working with our partners in the philanthropic, nonprofit, and faith communities on plans to continue providing as many of these resources as possible, given the limitations we’re putting into place. We will be providing more guidance to our staff and the families they serve in the days ahead and intend to reopen our YFD centers and resume after-school programming as soon as it is safe to do so.
Senior citizens. All available data about COVID-19 indicates that it is especially dangerous for individuals over the age of 59, so keeping our senior population safe by enforcing social distancing is a top concern. All of our decisions here are informed by the direct guidance of the AARP and other public health experts. We are frequent contact with the Chattanooga Housing Authority and the property managers of our other senior housing towers and have asked them to take extraordinary precautions in cleaning and disinfecting their facilities, as well as regular checking-in on senior residents to reduce loneliness and monitor their health. We intend to reopen our senior center and resume senior programming as soon as it is safe to do so.
Individuals experiencing homelessness. Our Homeless Navigators will follow their own COOP, which will include rotating duty shifts to deliver all critical services. Outreach workers will take the direction of our community partners with regard to how they can safely interact with individuals who may be in need of housing.
At this time, the City Council and Office of City Attorney are seeking additional guidance from the State’s Office of Open Records Counsel to ensure that future meetings may be conducted in a way that minimizes risk to the public while also allowing for full transparency in city business.
It is impossible to determine how these decisions will affect our city or country’s long-term economic health, but we of course expect that sales tax revenue in particular will be decreased as a result of the virus. The City of Chattanooga has a very healthy reserve fund and we will absolutely be able to maintain operations, even while the COOPs are being implemented, for the foreseeable future.
Yes, we anticipate no interruption in the business of our Purchasing Department or procurement and accounts receivable activities.
Late last week, Congress authorized a package of $8.3 billion to combat the spread of the virus -- one of the largest emergency appropriations in history. Those funds will be put to use in a variety of ways including:
- $3.1 billion to be used by the Secretary of Health & Human Services for rapid response expenses
- $950 million for state and local health departments
- $300 million to fund the development of vaccines and other treatments
- $1.25 billion to support our international partners in their efforts to slow the virus
As of this morning, we know that Congress is deliberating on additional measures to support hourly workers, small businesses, and public health agencies. We are waiting to see exactly how much of that money, if any, will make it to Chattanooga.
EPB and TN American Water have agreed to suspend service disconnections.
Nothing slows the spread of COVID-19 as effectively as social isolation, as frustrating as it may be. Please continue to refrain from larger public gatherings. Stay home if you feel sick and call your primary care provider before coming to a walk-in clinic or emergency room. Wash your hands, disinfect hard surfaces, and avoid physical contact.