Hamilton County lifts COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, gatherings

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Mayor Jim Coppinger replaces his mask after speaking during a press conference at the Hamilton County Health Department's Golley Auditorium on Monday, July 6, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Mayor Coppinger said that people in Hamilton County will be required to wear a mask or face covering in public starting after midnight on July 10. Citizens who refuse to cover their face could receive a Class C misdemeanor, with penalties ranging from a $50 fine up to 30 days in jail.

Hamilton County will follow Gov. Bill Lee in loosening restrictions on businesses under the Tennessee Pledge, beginning Wednesday.

In a release Wednesday, County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced that the Hamilton County Health Department is ordering the removal of restrictions based on the authority delegated by Gov. Bill Lee through Executive Order 63.

Lee said Tuesday that he is lifting COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and other gatherings in 89 of the state's 95 counties beginning Wednesday, while also extending Tennessee's state of emergency order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hamilton, as one of the state's six counties able to make its own decisions, again opted to follow the governor's lead.

"We are going in the right direction and we don't want to have any setbacks," Coppinger said, urging citizens to be cautious.