Listen to the content of this post:
FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Monroe County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on Monday, March 23 declaring a local state of emergency due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
Monroe County interim Public Safety/Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Meadows says four things are accomplished by declaring a countywide state of emergency.
1.) Monroe County EMA can activate its Emergency Operations Plan.
2.) Commissioners have the authority to waive procedures and establish curfews (although commissioners decided not to implement a countywide curfew at this point).
3.) Establishes a voluntary daily shelter in place policy between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. that will take effect beginning at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25.
4.) Prohibits gatherings of 10 persons or more, including in local restaurants and churches. However, grocery stores, fuel stations, pharmacies and health and medical care facilities are excluded.
Exclusions to the voluntary shelter in place policy include:
1.) traveling to and from an emergency funeral,
2.) traveling to and from work,
3.) traveling to and from activities involving the exercise of First Amendment rights,
4.) interstate and intrastate vehicular travel through Monroe County,
5.) walking/running for physical exercise,
6.) traveling to procure food,
7.) traveling to seek medical attention,
8.) emergency services personnel executing this order,
9.) activities relating to agriculture, forestry and tending or caring for crops and livestock.
Meadows told commissioners he dislikes calling for emergency declarations because it’s indicative of a problem but that in this instance it’s in the county’s best interest to protect the lives of citizens and to reduce Coronavirus spread.
“Protection of life is the highest priority for limiting the effects of COVID-19,” Meadows said.
Monday’s resolution came nine days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a statewide public health emergency on March 14. Kemp is expected to hold a press conference at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, during which further statewide restrictions could be implemented.
“Any stricter guidelines Kemp implements pertaining to curfews or shelter in place policies would supersede the county’s declaration,” the post said.