CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WATE) — Mayor Andy Berke signed an executive order Thursday asking city residents to observe a shelter-in-place order.

Executive Order 2020-06 mandates that residents within Chattanooga must shelter in place, restricts nonessential travel, suspends access to city-owned public spaces, and closes all nonessential businesses. It additionally closes child care programs that aren’t serving essential personnel.

The directs rather than recommends residents to shelter in place. The city is hoping for voluntary compliance, according to the city’s COVID-19 website.

“Enforcement is a last resort,” the website states. “If, at some point, (Chattanooga Police Department) 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.”

Protocols were also put in place for compliance:

The protocol for addressing any businesses reported to be in possible violation has been and remains as follows:  

  1. 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.
  2. Officer(s) will request the responsible party on scene to come outside to conduct business, maintaining all appropriate social distancing to minimize exposure risks.
  3. Officer(s) will advise the location that they are in violation of the Executive Order.
  4. Provide the business representative a copy of the Order.
  5. 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. 
  6. If the business and responsible party refuse to adhere to the Order, the responsible party could be issued a citation or other enforcement mechanisms.

Grocery, drug, hardware and liquor stores are still allowed to be open under the executive order. Child care centers will only be open

Travel is also prohibited to essential travel only under the new guidelines. “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.

To learn more about Executive Order 2020-06, visit https://cha.city/covidfaqs.