Fayette County requests voluntary shelter at home

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Countywide ordinance bans dining-in at restaurants — 

The Fayette County Commission by unanimous vote at a special called meeting on March 31 adopted a declaration of public health emergency and voluntary shelter-at-home ordinance due to COVID-19.

The ordinance, effective through April 30, was similar to those adopted in Fayette’s municipalities. But included in the ordinance was the request for county residents to consider voluntarily sheltering in their homes except under the following circumstances:

• When a person is on an errand necessitated due to an emergency or engaged in procuring or seeking an essential service;

• 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;

• When a person is engaged in interstate and intrastate vehicular travel through the county;

• 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; or

• Personal or family activities such as walking, jogging and cycling.

Also in the ordinance:

• All establishments must post signage on entrance doors informing customers to maintain at least six feet of personal distance between themselves and others and shall not allow any more than 10 people into such establishment at any one time if such social distancing cannot be maintained.

Similar to other ordinances across Fayette, the ordinance required restaurants to cease dine-in services, and to limit service to delivery, drive-thru or take-out, and for patrons, employees or contractors to maintain a 6-foot distance.

Those restaurants licensed to sell beer or wine can sell those products unopened for take-out but not delivery.

Another provision of the ordinance noted that all public and private gatherings of 10 people or more occurring outside of a household or living unit are prohibited unless they can assure spacing of at least six feet between people at all times.

The prohibition did not include gatherings for the purpose of carrying on business certified by Georgia Emergency Management as “essential,” designated by Gov. Brian Kemp as “critical infrastructure” or for the provision of health services.

Other portions of the ordinance stipulated that all county-owned and county-maintained property, including county parks, playground and recreation fields are closed through the duration of the ordinance period.

The ordinance also noted that courts are open for essential services per order of the Georgia Supreme Court, public health offices are open for essential services by appointment only and the transfer station is open under normal business hours.

Chairman Randy Ognio and commissioners Charles Rousseau and Chuck Oddo were physically present at the meeting, while commissioners Eric Maxwell and Edge Gibbons attended remotely.