Knoxville Mayor Kincannon Issues Safer At Home Order to Allow Broader Authority of Some City Employees

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon issues a Safer at Home order that directly echoes a recent order by the Knox County Health Department.

The order gives City of Knoxville employees who have enforcement and regulatory authority, the ability to take corrective action within Knoxville city limits against those violating Safer at Home orders.

Mayor Kincannon said, “The number of COVID-19 cases in Knox County has doubled in the last few days and is rising daily. Too many people are not taking this seriously. I issued this order so our codes enforcement officers, Parks and Rec employees, KFD inspectors and KPD officers will be empowered to enforce this life-saving order.”

The nicer weather this past weekend seemed to highlight the fact that groups of 10 or more are still gathering, many ignoring the order, closed signs and COVID-19 warnings.

A few examples of this are listed below:

• Residents at one city park played pickle ball and tennis ignoring two signs warning of COVID-19 precautions and pushed into a court that was chained and padlocked.

• At another city park, a large group of adults and children gathered to play baseball. They even turned on the field lights and a pitching machine.

• Several neighborhoods hosted large food truck parties without appropriate social distancing practices.

• There were reports of restaurants operating beyond takeout orders and groups of patrons occupying outdoor and indoor seating area.

• At one private athletic facility there was a report of a large softball tournament.

As a result, today Parks and Recreation supervisors started taking even more steps to keep people from putting themselves and others at risk on City property. Parks and Recreation and Public Service Department crews are adding more controls and information to help keep the public safe including padlocking courts, restrooms and ball fields and removing nets and other measures.

The City is trying to take every measure to slow the spread of COVID-19, which includes educating people, requesting that they stop gathering and, if absolutely necessary, issuing a citation.

Mayor Kincannon said, “The last thing we want to do is to issue citations during these already challenging times, but we must do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. We all can do our part and that includes limiting physical interaction and avoiding gathering in groups of 10 or more people.”

Today’s (Wednesday’s) order follows Mayor Kincannon issuing a State of Emergency on March 16, 2020, and an executive order restricting gyms, restaurants, bars and commercial venues on March 19, 2020. The City was also put under a Safer at Home order issued by the Knox County Health Department March 23, 2020.

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