Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says the county will reopen on May 1, following the decision of Gov. Bill Lee.
Coppinger's decision, while in step with the governor, strays from that of Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, who said he will not agree to an "arbitrary" reopening date.
At a press conference Tuesday, Coppinger implored municipalities within the county, who have been granted the authority by the state to reopen on their own terms, to open on May 1.
Coppinger recognized the risk of reopening but encouraged older citizens to maintain social distancing and all citizens to wash their hands.
"If we start to see a significant reversal, we will reconsider our decision," Coppinger said. I realize that the COVID-19 has impacted not only our economy but our individuals as well."
With 121 cases and 13 deaths in the county over five weeks, Coppinger says that is "comparatively low" to Georgia and Tennessee and that is due to good behavior by citizens.
Berke Chief of Staff Kerry Hayes said earlier Tuesday afternoon that the city will likely not even have the data to begin plotting their restart for another 10 days or so, as community testing grows, setting the city well behind the county's schedule.
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