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City of Guyton to consider emergency action against COVID-19

GUYTON -- The Guyton City Council set to to consider an emergency ordinance because of the resurgence of COVID-19. The measure will be considered tonight at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

The ordinance for consideration says:


WHEREAS, the number of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 is continuing to escalate rapidly in Georgia and surrounding states; and WHEREAS, based upon the experience of other local governments in Georgia, a growing number of other cases are likely to occur; and 

WHEREAS, it is vitally important that we all work together to decrease the widespread proliferation of COVID-19 among us; and 

WHEREAS, the Charter of the City of Guyton, Georgia, provides the governing authority of the City with the authority to take actions deemed necessary to deal with such an emergency for the protection of the safety, health, and well-being of the citizens of the City; and 

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that a local state of emergency exists within the City and shall continue until the conditions requiring this declaration are abated. 

THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED BY THE GOVERNING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF GUYTON, GEORGIA IN A CALLED MEETING ASSEMBLED AND PURSUANT TO LAWFUL AUTHORITY THEREOF, AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Findings of Fact For purposes of describing the circumstances which warrant the adoption of this emergency ordinance, the governing authority of the City of Guyton, Georgia, hereby adopts and makes the findings included in the “WHEREAS” clauses as findings of fact. Section 2. Declaration of Public Health State of Emergency The City Council hereby declares a public health state of emergency within the City of Guyton, Georgia, because of the proliferation of COVID-19 in the United States and the 2 State of Georgia, which will remain in force and effect until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, which is twenty seven (27) days from the date hereof. Section 3. Classification of City Services For the duration of the declared emergency, the City Manager shall be vested with the following discretion and authority, to wit: (a) To categorize City services as either “required” or “discretionary,” and to periodically review and modify such categories. (b) To assign specific employees to required or discretionary services, and to periodically review and modify such assignments. (c) To use his discretion to permit employees to telework. (c) To temporarily suspend the provision of discretionary services and to direct employees who provide discretionary services not to report to work until such time as the service suspension is lifted or until such time as the City Manager redirects the employee to other services. (d) To contract for and expend non-budgeted sums and services, as may in his discretion be required to meet the demands upon government and services of the City for the duration of the declared emergency, including therein authority to spend such sums from the reserves of the City. Any such non-budgeted expenditures shall be reported to the governing authority of the City. (e) To maintain, to the best of the ability of the resources of the City, the provision of essential services, which shall include, but not be limited to, public safety, public works, healthcare, and building permits. Section 4. Personal Distance Businesses must post signage on entrance doors informing consumers, invitees, and employees to maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance between themselves and others and shall not allow more than ten (10) people into such establishment at any one time if such social distancing cannot be maintained. Section 5. Face Coverings For the purpose of this Ordinance, a "Face Covering" is a cloth or other type of masking device that covers the wearer's nose and mouth. All persons entering any building open to the public in the City must wear a face covering or mask while inside the building. All restaurants, retail establishments of every description, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies located within the municipal boundaries of the City must require their 3 employees to wear a Face Covering at all times while in any area where the general public is allowed or when the employees must be in close proximity to one another. This requirement also applies to all businesses or employees while interacting with people in outdoor spaces, including, but not limited to, curbside pickup, delivery, and service calls. Face Coverings are not required in the following circumstances: (a) Inside personal vehicles; (b) When a person is alone in enclosed spaces, such as their personal residence, or only with other household members; (c) During physical activity, provided the active person maintains a minimum of 6 feet from other people with whom they do not cohabitate at all times; (d) While drinking, eating, or smoking; (e) When wearing a face covering causes or aggravates a health condition; (f) When wearing a lace covering would prevent the receipt of personal services; (g) When a person is 10 years of age or younger. Buildings open to the public shall post conspicuous signage at all entrances informing its patrons of the requirements of this Ordinance. Section 6. Enforcement Education and voluntary compliance are the desired means of enforcement. However, a person who fails to comply with any mandatory provision of this Ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1000. Each day of a continuing violation of this Ordinance shall be considered a separate and distinct offense. In addition to the fines established in this section, repeated violations of this Ordinance by a person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a business or establishment subject to this Ordinance may result in the business or establishment being declared a public nuisance, which may be abated by the City as provided by law. The foregoing notwithstanding every effort shall be made to bring the business into voluntary compliance with the terms of this Ordinance prior to the issuance of any citation. For the purposes of this Ordinance, "person" shall be defined as any entity or individual associated with the business who has the control or authority and ability to enforce the social distancing requirements of this Ordinance within the business such as an owner, manager, or supervisor. "Person" may also include an employee or other designee that is 4 present at the business but does not have the title of manager, supervisor, etc. but has the authority and ability to ensure that the requirements of this Ordinance are met while the business is open to the public. Section 7. Emergency Interim Successor to City Manager The governing authority desires to make certain that the chain of authority within City management is clear. If the City Manager is unable to perform his duties, then the individual designated by the City Manager as the emergency interim successor pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-3-50 shall assume the duties of the City Manager. Should the emergency interim successor be unable or unwilling to perform those duties or should no individual be designated, the Mayor as Chief Executive Officer of the City shall assume those duties. Section 8. Procurement The governing authority hereby suspends the bid and competitive portions of the City’s Procurement Policy or ordinances and authorizes the City Manager to utilize the singlesource policy and to require departments to provide a written justification for the procurement during the effective dates of this Resolution and/or utilize any emergency procurement provisions contained. City officials shall continue to seek the best prices during the state of emergency. Section 9. Closure of City Hall and City Facilities to the Public City Hall, playgrounds, basketball court, and tennis courts will be closed to the public until this Ordinance expires. Employees will continue serving the city by phone, email, and if necessary outdoor meetings where social distancing efforts will be required. Section 10. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this Declaration are hereby suspended during the effective dates of this Declaration (or any extension thereof) and the terms and provisions of this Declaration shall prevail. This Ordinance after adoption by the Council and upon approval by the Mayor shall become effective immediately. 5 SO ORDAINED AND RESOLVED, this 16th day of July, 2020