KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Mayor Indya Kincannon issued a Safer at Home order that will go into effect Wednesday, April 1. The order will directly echo the order issued last week 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.
“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,” Mayor Kincannon said.
Kincannon said the nicer weather over the weekend highlighted the fact that groups of 10 or more are still gathering despite the Safer at Home order.
A few examples include:
o 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.
o 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.
o Several neighborhoods hosted large food truck parties without appropriate social distancing practices.
o There were reports of restaurants operating beyond takeout orders and groups of patrons occupying outdoor and indoor seating area.
o At one private athletic facility there was a report of a large softball tournament.
As a result of those incidents, Parks and Recreation supervisors said they are taking more steps to keep people from putting themselves and others at risk on City property. Parks and Rec and Public Service Department crews are adding more controls and information to help keep the public safe including padlocking courts, restrooms, ball fields and removing nets and other measures.
“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," Kincannon said.
Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.