Coronavirus: Knoxville Mayor Kincannon issues order allowing for ‘corrective action’ against Safer at Home violators

Coronavirus

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Mayor Indya Kincannon issued a Safer at Home order allowing for “regulatory authority” and “corrective action” within city limits beginning Wednesday, April 1.

“The order gives city of Knoxville employees who have enforcement and regulatory authority, the ability to take corrective action within Knoxville city limits against those violating Safer at Home orders,” a release from Kincannon said Tuesday evening.

RELATED: Today’s Knoxville Executive Order

The mayor cited the number of coronavirus cases doubled in Knox County in the last few days and the ignoring of previous orders as a reason for the order.

This new executive order only applies to the city of Knoxville and not Knox County.

“Too many people are not taking this seriously,” she said. “I issued this order so our codes enforcement officers, Parks and Rec employees, KFD inspectors and KPD officers will be empowered to enforce this life-saving order.” 

RELATED: Governor Bill Lee issues ‘Safer-at-Home’ order for Tennessee

Kincannon also gave examples of violations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines about gatherings of 10 or fewer people:

  • Residents at one city park played pickle ball and tennis ignoring two signs warning of COVID-19 precautions and pushed into a court that was chained and padlocked.
  • At another city park, a large group of adults and children gathered to play baseball. They even turned on the field lights and a pitching machine.
  • Several neighborhoods hosted large food truck parties without appropriate social distancing practices.
  • There were reports of restaurants operating beyond takeout orders and groups of patrons occupying outdoor and indoor seating areas.
  • At one private athletic facility there was a report of a large softball tournament.

“The city is trying to take every measure to slow the spread of COVID-19, which includes educating people, requesting that they stop gathering and, if absolutely necessary, issuing a citation,” the release reads.

The initial Safer at Home executive order was given on March 23 by the Knox County Health Department.

RELATED: Knox County closes all nonessential businesses with ‘safer at home order’

A state of emergency was declared by the city on March 16. Three days later the city issued its first executive order restricting gyms, restaurants, bars and commercial venues.

RELATED: ‘Prepared not scared’: Knoxville mayor declares state of emergency in response to coronavirus

Parks and Rec and Public Service Department crews are adding more controls and information to help keep the public safe including padlocking courts, restrooms and ball fields and removing nets and other measures.

“The last thing we want to do is to issue citations during these already challenging times, but we must do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Kincannon says. “We all can do our part and that includes limiting physical interaction and avoiding gathering in groups of 10 or more people.”

RELATED | LIST: What TN businesses, services are ‘nonessential’ vs. ‘essential’ according to Gov. Lee’s Executive Order No. 22

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