Wednesday, the Newnan City Council unanimously approved additional emergency measures related to COVID-19.
Along with a renewed declaration of a local state of emergency, the city approved an ordinance placing restrictions on the limitation of public and private gatherings, eating establishments, the closure of businesses, personal space and voluntary shelter at home.
The ordinance would prohibit all public and private gatherings of more than 10 people occurring outside of a household or living unit.
While the confirmed cases in Coweta remain at 10, Mayor Keith Brady said the number of confirmed cases does not need to exponentially increase for city leaders to urge everyone to take a serious approach to this virus.
“While the safety and welfare of our citizens is the city's highest priority, there is a real economic cost that is being felt by our citizens and business owners,” he said. “Our goal is to give consideration to both.”
The ordinance wouldn’t prohibit the gathering of individuals for the purposes of carrying on business certified as “essential” by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
All businesses would cease operations with the exception of those considered essential.
Those businesses ceasing operations would include:
Gyms, fitness centers, pools, social clubs, amusement facilities, bowling alleys, pool halls, theaters, massage parlors, nail salons and any other similar facility, any facility used for an activity that involves prolonged physical proximity of individuals, and any facility used for entertainment, social, grooming or general health and wellbeing purposes must close and remain closed for the duration of this emergency.
Pet groomers, however, can remain open.
The ordinance also states that:
Businesses remaining open during the emergency must post signage on entrance doors informing consumers to maintain at least 6 feet of personal distance between themselves and others.
Businesses should not allow more than 10 people into such an establishment at any one time if such social distancing cannot be maintained.
Restaurants and other eating and dining establishments where food is served would be required to cease offering dine-in services, but may continue preparing and offering food to customers via delivery, drive-through or takeout services.
Patrons, employees and contractors of the establishments must maintain at least 6 feet of personal distance between themselves as much as possible, given the physical constraints of the premises.
If a restaurant is licensed to sell beer and wine for on-premises consumption, they would be authorized to sell unopened bottles or cans of beer or wine for consumption off-premises.
They must also implement procedures to provide the recommended personal distance at concentrated locations such as checkout registers, customer service desks, break rooms, etc.
Establishments are encouraged to establish a maximum store occupant load to assist with personal distancing compliance.
The city requests that all Newnan residents voluntarily shelter at home and not leave their homes, except:
a. When a person is on an errand necessitated by an emergency, or engaged in procuring or seeking an essential service;
b. When a person is traveling or returning directly home from lawful employment or otherwise
engaged in lawful employment that makes it necessary to leave home;
c. When a person is engaged in interstate and intrastate vehicular travel through the city;
d. When a person is procuring essential food or medicine or seeking essential medical care or providing essential food, medicine or medical care to another person;
e. Personal or family activities such as walking, jogging and cycling.
The ordinance goes into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 26 and ends at midnight, Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
Councilmember Cynthia Jenkins supported the measure, stating the purpose of the ordinance is for people to understand the seriousness of the situation.
“Based on the data points, this is a math problem and this problem doesn’t end well if we don’t change,” she said.
Brady urged residents to be diligent, stay at home unless it's absolutely necessary to leave, wash your hands and listen to the advice of health officials.
“We are asking everyone, regardless of age, who have not yet recognized the seriousness of this illness to understand how irresponsible actions on the part of citizens and business owners jeopardizes your health and the health of your friends and family members,” Brady said.
“It is our wish and prayer that all of our citizens stay safe by adhering to healthcare guidelines and by respecting those around you,” he continued. “God bless you and God bless the city of Newnan.”