As COVID-19 cases spike locally, nationally and globally, Snellville's Mayor and Council are urging residents to use every means possible to follow the advice of medical experts – wear masks, maintain social distance, wash their hands, avoid large gatherings and avoid being in crowded, poorly ventilated, closed settings.
Our main goal is, and has always been, to protect our citizens and keep our medical facilities from being overwhelmed.
The Mayor and Council implore residents and businesses to comply with the Governor’s executive order.
Public health officials across the state and country have consistently and repeatedly informed us of the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID. The Governor’s Executive Orders, for months, have allowed local governments whose case rates were in the red zone (100 or more new cases per 100,000 population), meaning cases were spiraling out of control in those local jurisdictions, to impose mask mandates if the local governing authority chose to do so. As a result, Georgia Municipal Association developed a model mask ordinance, which complies with the Governor’s Executive Orders and leaves the decision to impose a mask requirement to the local governing authority.
Please take a moment to read the following:
• The COVID-19 crisis in Georgia is worsening and fast approaching a catastrophic level. Cases and hospitalizations are increasing beyond available resources, and with the positive tests continuing to climb, many hospitals across the state have little to no ICU bed capacity.
• Primarily as a result of large group and small home gatherings during the holiday season, caseloads are predicted to increase significantly in the coming days. Hospitals will be overflowing and in many regions a shortage of nurses and other medical personnel is projected.
• Vaccines against COVID-19 are starting to be available and although their availability at this point is limited, over the next few months they should become more readily available. The Mayor and Council support and encourage vaccination as a way to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
• The vaccine is here, and it is being administered to more Georgians every day. Regardless of your spot in line, if you take precautions now, you may avoid contracting COVID, and you won’t have to worry about the many known long-term impacts on your health.
•The very same people you want to gather with are likely the people you most want to protect. Avoiding indoor gatherings now means you can keep each other safe, healthy and alive for gatherings in the future once you are vaccinated, community spread has significantly declined, and herd immunity has been achieved.
•Many medical professionals expected Georgia’s case rates to climb substantially following the Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and New Years’ holidays as they similarly climbed after Thanksgiving. Recent data shows that our current case rate per 100,000 residents in Georgia is the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic and at least 60 percent higher than our summer surge.
•Bars/Restaurants: Georgia has allowed struggling bars and restaurants to remain open so that more small local businesses are not lost. Failing to follow the governor’s guidelines puts your favorite small businesses at risk and may make it even harder for them to keep their doors open. Utilize takeout (including new takeout alcohol options in cities that have made it available) and delivery (including new alcohol delivery options where available).
LEGAL REMINDERS: Gov. Brian Kemp’s Executive Order:
• It is a violation of the Governor’s Executive Order and a misdemeanor crime for people to gather in groups of more than 50 persons if they are required to stand or be seated within six feet of any other person. Unfortunately, there has been little to no enforcement of this provision, which has been one major factor in the increased spread of the virus in Georgia.
• It is a violation of the Governor’s Executive Order and a misdemeanor crime for bars to allow more than 50 persons on the premises or to exceed 35 percent of the fire capacity, whichever is greater, but there has also been little to no enforcement of this measure as well.
• It is a violation of the Governor’s Executive Order and a misdemeanor crime for restaurants to have seating arrangements that do not ensure at least 6 feet of separation from seating to seating or utilize physical barriers to separate groups sitting within 6 feet of one another.