Savannah Mayor Van Johnson issued a shelter-in-place directive Tuesday banning people from going out in public except for essential services while also urging the governor to order more restrictions than he did Monday to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Savannah, which imposed an initial round of COVID-19 regulations Saturday, is following the Georgia Municipal Association’s recommendations that local governments declare a public emergency so that cities are consistent in their approach to the rapidly spreading virus.
The Association County Commissioners of Georgia, meanwhile, issued a statement late Tuesday saying it will defer to what local officials think is best for their community. So far, at least 70 counties have declared a public health emergency. The group has already canceled its plans for a late April convention typically attended by nearly 1,000 elected officials and staffers.
The push from the association of Georgia’s thousands of city officials comes as Gov. Brian Kemp faces criticism for not taking stronger action on Monday when he announced a two-week ban on gatherings that don’t adhere to the six-foot separation rule, the closing of bars and nightclubs and a stay home order for the state’s most medically fragile residents.
The Northeast Health District reported the first COVID-19 death in Athens today.
The victim was a 67-year-old man who had an underlying medical condition, according to public health officials. The elderly and people with pre-existing heart or lung disease or diabetes are most likely to die from COVID-19.
Overall, positive coronavirus tests in Georgia jumped to 1,026 today, with 32 deaths. Sixteen of those cases were reported in Clarke County and three in Oconee County.
Medical professionals and others are pressuring Oconee County commissioners to pass a "shelter in place" ordinance similar to the one Athens-Clarke County approved last week.
As coronavirus continues to spread in Georgia, Clarke County public schools will remain closed through Apr. 7, interim superintendent Xernona Thomas told parents and staff over the weekend.
Thomas cited Athens-Clarke County's shelter-in-place ordinance, which took effect Mar. 20 and requires residents to stay in their homes unless going out for essential business, like work or grocery shopping, although the ordinance specifically exempts schools.
CCSD had originally planned to close for the week of Mar. 16. Last week Gov. Brian Kemp closed all K-12 schools statewide until the end of the month.
The Athens-Clarke County Commission unanimously approved an emergency measure Thursday night requiring residents to stay in their homes with some exceptions, hoping to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases spread in the county.
They also voted to spend at least $3 million to somewhat alleviate the economic impact of closing many businesses to the public, which will throw many local residents out of work.
But the public health threat of coronavirus was deemed so serious that it justified harsher measures to ensure people are practicing social distancing whenever possible.
After voting unanimously Monday to ask Athens residents to stay at home as much as possible, the Athens-Clarke County Commission will vote tonight on making that request mandatory—with certain exceptions.
First things first: This is not a reason to panic. You'll still be able to do most everything you need to do, such as go to work (if your employer is open), get food, groceries, medicine and other supplies, go to the doctor, walk your dog, take a jog or care for relatives.
Hospitals, health clinics, doctor's and dentist's offices, pharmacies and other health care-related facilities can remain open. So can grocery stories, convenience stores, produce stands, farmers markets, banks, hardware stores, auto supply and repair shops, gas stations, social services, shelters, electricians, plumbers, exterminators, delivery services, laundromats, dry cleaners, child care facilities, lawyers, real estate agents, accountants and media outles. Restaurants can continue to serve food for takeout and delivery.
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file
To reduce transmissions of coronavirus, Athens Transit is switching to a weekend level of service and will stop collecting fares through Apr. 7.
Nine routes will operate from 7:30 a.m. until 9:45 p.m.: 1 (North Avenue), 2 (East Broad/Nellie B), 5 (Beechwood/Baxter Street), 6 (Hancock/Abbey West), 7 (Prince Avenue), 8 (Barber Street/Newton Bridge), 20 (West Broad/Atlanta Highway), 25 (Lexington/Gaines School) and 27 (Barnett Shoals/Gaines School).
Passengers can only enter and exit the bus through the rear door to ensure social distancing between the driver and riders. No youths under 18 are allowed to ride unless accompanied by an adult.
Photo Credit: UGA Grady College
The University of Georgia will move to online classes for the rest of the spring semester and reduce on-campus activities to a minimum, including canceling the May commencement ceremony, President Jere Morehead announced today.
The few students who remain in residence halls because they have nowhere to go can stay, and can get food to go from Bolton Hall. Other students who live on campus and meal plan subscribers will be given refunds on a pro-rated basis. All students will also receive pro-rated refunds on fees. Advising for the fall semester will happen remotely.
Classes will resume online Mar. 30. The deadline to withdraw has been extended until Apr. 17.
In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Athens-Clarke County Commission approved an emergency ban on assemblies larger than 10 people in many local gathering places at a called meeting Monday night.
But the commission opted against a proposed curfew, instead passing a "voluntary sheltering in place" policy asking residents to stay in their homes as much as possible.
The ban on gatherings of more than 10 people—based on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation issued today—applies to bars, restaurants, entertainment venues like movie theaters and bowling alleys, ACC-owned facilities and public property. Employees are exempted from the limit. It does not apply to retailers, such as grocery stores or pharmacies. Restaurants will still be allowed to serve food for take-out and delivery.
The Athens-Clarke County Commission has called an emergency meeting at 5 p.m. today to consider a curfew and a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.
If approved, the curfew will prohibit people from driving or going out in public between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. That includes streets, bars, restaurants, parks and any other public building or public place.
Because of the need for social distancing, rather than attend in person, citizens are urged to provide comments online and watch the proceedings on Charter cable channel 180 or online at YouTube.com/accgov.
Maybe you don't want to go to the grocery store right now. Maybe you can't cook. Maybe you're worried about the folks in the service industry who make up a big chunk of our town and are going to be especially hard hit by social distancing as we attempt to flatten the curve of COVID-19 contagion. Here are some restaurants going out of their way to help. Throw 'em some bucks if you can and/or donate to the GIving Kitchen, which will provide resources to those workers. Cosmic Delivery and Bulldawg Food are still operating, as are national services like UberEats.
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