The Newnan Times-Herald

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Council approves new COVID-19 measures


  • By Laurel Huster
  • |
  • Apr. 03, 2020 - 9:49 AM

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Council approves new COVID-19 measures

The Newnan Times-Herald

[UPDATE: Gov. Brian Kemp’s order for Georgians to shelter in place, set to go into effect Friday at 6 p.m., supersedes all local emergency orders that limit social interaction to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Friday meeting of the Newnan City Council has been canceled.]

Thursday afternoon, the Newnan City Council voted to approve amended measures related to the city’s Planned Response surrounding COVID-19.

In addition to the renewed declaration of a local state of emergency, the council voted 6-1 to approve additions to the ordinance including removing the word “voluntary” from sheltering at home, placing restrictions on non-essential retail stores and the closure of city parks.

Because the vote was not unanimous, a second and final reading of the ordinance was planned for this afternoon.

The Newnan City Council voted to approve amended measures related to the city’s Planned Response surrounding COVID-19.

In addition to the renewed declaration of a local state of emergency, the council voted 6-1 to approve additions to the ordinance including removing the word “voluntary” from sheltering at home, placing restrictions on non-essential retail stores and the closure of city parks.

Council Member Dustin Koritko voted against the changes.

“I fear this is moving us into a place we don’t necessarily need to be going, prior to hearing from the governor," he said.

Because the vote was not unanimous, a second and final reading of the ordinance will be held Friday, April 3 at 2:30 p.m. at Newnan City Hall. Once passed, the measures will go into effect immediately.

Newnan’s city charter states in order for an ordinance to be approved, it must be unanimous. If not, it must be read twice. Tomorrow’s meeting will constitute the second reading.

The council requests that all Newnan residents 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.

Other new measures in the ordinance include the closure of all non-essential retail stores such as:

  • Furniture and home furnishing stores
  • Clothing, shoe and clothing accessory stores
  • Jewelry, luggage and leather goods store
  • Department stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Book, craft, music and game stores

All establishments 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 and shall not allow more than 10 people into the establishment at any one time if such social distancing cannot be maintained.

Failure to implement such measures and the inability to maintain social distancing will subject the establishment to temporary closure until such measures can be implemented, according to the ordinance.

The revision instructs the closure of all city parks, playgrounds and dog parks, but does not include the use of sidewalk and path systems as long as people comply with social distancing practices.

Permitting, including alcohol licensing and regulatory permits, will remain in full force and effect until such time as public hearings are resumed.

However, no criminal penalties are applicable for failing to abide by the measures.

The local State of Emergency was set to expire Wednesday, April 8, and has been extended through Thursday, April 30.

Due to concerns with social distancing, residents are encouraged to watch and participate online via the city’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityofnewnan .