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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.

At Wednesday's Commission meeting, Coppinger told the public that cases were trending in the right direction, but that it was not time to let the guard down on preventing the spread of the virus.

The Hamilton County mask mandate remains in place until Oct. 8.

At the beginning of the meeting, which was the first hybrid in-person and virtual meeting of the Commission, commissioners voted 5-4 to return to online-only meetings until the governor's order allowing virtual meetings expires. The order is set to expire on Oct. 28.

Coppinger also announced a press conference on Oct. 6 to discuss the mask mandate.

This is a developing story. Stay with the Times Free Press for updates.

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

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