Chattanooga Mayor on mask requirement: ‘I believe this is the right step’

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Come Friday people in Hamilton County will have to wear face masks or risk the consequences if they don’t.

The county is requiring facial coverings.

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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has been pushing for people to masks.

“I believe this is the right step to make sure that more of us stay safe,” Mayor Berke said.

Positive COVID cases continue to rise in Hamilton County.

In a Facebook Live Monday, Mayor Berke noted that several COVID related deaths have been reported just within the past few days.

Last Tuesday, the health department reported 30 deaths.

On Monday, they reported 35.

“The pandemic is real. It’s global. It’s been confirmed by every expert. It is serious. It causes terrible harm to people and families,” Mayor Berke said.

It was up to the county to make the call on mandating masks not just for the county, but all the cities in it.

Areas including Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville are already requiring masks.

“The decision to do it now is the result of a collaboration over many, many weeks of studying and looking at, you know, our data and seeing if there was anything to slow it down,” Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said.

If you choose to violate the mandate, you could be charged with a class C misdemeanor.