Chattanooga City Council Members table proposed coronavirus fine ordinance

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Chattanooga City Council Members have postponed voting on an ordinance that would have put a city citation and a $50 dollar fine on specifically violations of the mayor’s emergency proclamations and orders.

Since we’ve been in the COVID-19 pandemic, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has issued orders in attempt to slow the spread of the virus and keep the community safe.

Council members had discussions on the ordinance in their meetings on Tuesday.

Councilman Anthony Byrd said he didn’t think it was going to pass, but said “we all together, community and government, have to let violators know we are living in serious times.”

“I would never support additional financial burdens or hardships to be placed on businesses, especially in a time of crisis,” Councilman Darrin Ledford said.

“I will not support taking steps resembling a police state in the City of Chattanooga,” Councilman Ken Smith said. “During this unprecedented time we need to be lifting up our communities and planning how to get people back to work and their lives as back to normal as possible.”

The ordinance was on the agenda with no sponsor.

“It just didn’t follow the rules of our procedures to be on the agenda. I just wanted to inform the council that as you already know, none of us did it. The mayor didn’t do it,”  Councilman Jerry Mitchell said.

Council members said it came from the attorney’s office.

Council members voted to table the ordinance with no word on when or if it might be brought up again.

Also in the city council meeting Tuesday night, folks expressed frustrations over the city’s coronavirus regulations and how the state and county announced they will start to loosen theirs.

“Our clients are going to go other places. It just, I don’t understand why they can open and we can’t. We’re breathing the same air. We need to make money just like these other places,”Marti Brown with Town & Country Barber Shop & Salon said.

The Mayor is working with a task force to plan on how they will lift regulations and reopen businesses.

“I think it’s is dangerous for us to set arbitrary dates that say this is when something’s going to happen without closely examining the facts that’s what I’m going to do so that we can, we can all be safe,” Mayor Berke said on Monday.

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