First Day of Mask Mandate

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Friday was day one of the mask mandate set in Hamilton County.

Hamilton County added 75 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday.

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About a third of the total cases are still active.

July 10th also accounted for another death due to Covid-19.

These numbers influenced the health department to issue the mask mandate.

“No one enjoys wearing a mask but we’re asking everyone to who can wear a mask to wear a mask to save lives” said Regional Director of the Hamilton County Health Department Becky Barnes.

Hamilton County Mayor Coppinger said he spoke earlier with Sheriff Hammond and the sheriff’s office plans to enforce the misdemeanor penalties of a 50 dollar fine or 30 days in jail if necessary.

But Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy said on Thursday his department will not enforce the mandate.

“We will encourage you, we will educate you, but we will also not issue citations” said Chief Roddy.

“Chattanooga was crying out for this for quite some time … Then to be told that they wouldn’t enforce it is very disappointing” said Mayor Coppinger.

Despite CPD choosing not to enforce the mask mandate, we asked people here within the city of Chattanooga how they feel about the mandate and the penalties that come with it.

“If it’s going to help save a life then I should do it.”

“It’s a mandate but our officers around here ain’t got no masks daily so why force the people to have a mask on.”

“I don’t think the masks really do anything.”

“I see you guys are out and about how come you don’t have masks on? We just went in a restaurant. We took it off because it’s really hot out today.”

“I don’t have a mask on because it’s like 90 degrees out. I’m outside. I’m not really next to anybody but of course when I go into an establishment I’m going to go and put it on.”

But are they worried about the penalties?

“I feel like you ain’t breaking no law. You going to crowd jails up and other folks gone be still making money.

“Just throw it on and don’t make a scene about it but I don’t think that people should be 30 days in jail for it.

The Health Department says another shipment of free masks has been sent by the state of Tennessee and will be given away.

There will be a No Mask protest on Sunday at the courthouse.

We asked Mayor Coppinger about the protest.

“It’s just people wanting to express themselves and we’re good with that” said Mayor Coppinger.