Shelter In Place Order Issued for Chattanooga

Story updated to include list of Essential Businesses.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (PRESS RELEASE) — Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke is directing everyone in Chattanooga to observe a comprehensive shelter in place order. The order takes effect 12:01 a.m., Saturday, April 4.

The Order also restricts non-essential travel, suspends access to city-owned public spaces, closes all non-essential businesses, and closes child care programs that aren’t serving essential personnel.

“I know how disruptive and painful these actions will be for many, many Chattanoogans but the fact is that the coronavirus is still infecting far too many people in our city far too quickly,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “Medical experts are telling us already that this disease has the potential to completely overwhelm our local hospital systems in the next several weeks. The health of our neighbors is at stake. We don’t have any time to waste, ”

Executive Order 2020-06 takes several additional steps to protect Chattanooga residents and keep our community safe. These steps include:

  • Directing everyone in Chattanooga to observe a comprehensive shelter in place order. This means that all Chattanoogans must remain in their homes for all but the most critical activities — going to work at an essential business, getting groceries, or receiving medical attention.
  • Closing additional businesses and putting new health and safety requirements on businesses that must remain open.
  • Closing child care centers and daycare centers to everyone except the children of essential personnel.
  • Suspending access to city-owned parks and public spaces like the Walnut Street Bridge, Stringers Ridge, and Coolidge Park.

A previous Executive Order had mandated the closure of non-essential businesses that could not comply with social distancing requirements. This order closes all non-essential as outlined by the Order, effective 12:01 a.m., Saturday, April 4, and follows the same guidelines for non-essential businesses as Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 22.

“I need people to stay home,” Mayor Berke added. “We cannot have people gathering in public spaces just because they feel healthy right now. That mindset will place more people at greater risk for much longer.”

For the purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” means:

  • Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure as defined in this Order; “Healthcare Operations” does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities.
  • Grocery and beverage stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other similar establishments. This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  • Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
  • Banks and related financial institutions
  • Hardware stores, home and business repair, construction, and facilities design businesses;
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning, janitorial, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses;
  • Businesses providing mailing, shipping and logistic services, including post office boxes;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • Electronic, cell phone, and internet retail businesses;
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take- away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
  • Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, medical supplies, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses;
  • Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate or facilitate individuals to work from home;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, or other goods, and those businesses providing exempt services directly to residences; Businesses that provide goods and services exclusively deliver through curbside pickup, drive-thru, shipment or delivery.  For example, customers call and place order or order online, then customers pick up goods by curbside pick-up or goods are delivered to the customer. However, customers and employees must still adhere to the social distancing requirements to the greatest extent possible. Businesses can start providing goods by these delivery means even if they did not before.
  • Transportation services including buses, airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers (such as Uber and Lyft) providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children, people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, children, people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  • Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging (restaurants and bars on hotel premises must close any dine-in facilities; however, take-out, delivery, and room service is allowed).
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums, mortuary and burial services;
  • Private waste removal and recycling services;
  • Blood donor operations;
  • All other critical infrastructure businesses not otherwise listed but identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response issued on March 19, 2020; and
  • Any other business that the Mayor determines is essential for the safety and public health of the City.

For more on the order, visit

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