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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger speaks during a press conference about the coronavirus (COVID-19) at the McDaniel Building on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

At least seven of Hamilton County's ten municipalities have signed on to the county and state's plan to "reopen" on May 1, lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

The Small Cities Coalition of Hamilton County, which includes the cities of Collegedale, East Ridge, Lakesite, Lookout Mountain, Red Bank, Ridgeside and Soddy-Daisy, sent a press release Wednesday afternoon, just one day after County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced his intentions to follow Gov. Bill Lee's lead

Under the state and county's announcements, businesses will reopen in phases and with industry-specific safety guidelines, which have not been publicized at a state or local level yet, after less than a month under a stay-home order by the governor. 

According to the release, recommended guidelines for reopening are expected to be sent out on Friday. 

"While the coalition intends to follow the guidelines, steps taken to open the cities
may vary depending on the plan's details," the release reads. "As each city begins the process to reopen, residents and visitors are reminded to protect themselves and their families by continuing to maintain safe distances and avoid large crowds."

While these cities have signed on, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has stated that he will follow "data, not dates" and will not commit to an 'arbitrary' date to lift COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, the county's two towns, Walden and Signal Mountain, haven't shared their plans.

Dan Landrum, the mayor of Signal Mountain, said that the town will consider reopening at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday after the state provides further guidance.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at staylor@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.

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