The Stockbridge City Council convened March 24 in a special called meeting and passed a resolution ordering the temporary closure of business es not deemed essential during the COVID-19 crisis.
All city businesses, except for certain categories listed in the resolution, were directed to suspend public access immediately through April 7. Medical providers, food and beverage retailers, gas stations, childcare providers and banking institutions are among the exceptions.
In a statement released shortly after the meeting, city officials informed the public how to report violations of the ordinance through a website link.
The city declared a state of emergency March 21, after similar actions taken by the state of Georgia and Henry County during the previous week.
“We are in trying times and our mayor and council are deeply concerned with the safety of all citizens as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout our nation,” said city manager Randy Knighton. “This emergency resolution intends to protect both residents and businesses as the physical health of the community is essential. We continue to ask for patience during these challenging times. Our community will get through this together.”
Knighton encouraged business owners to contact him with questions and concerns, and the city will be providing updates through its social media accounts.
The resolution states that anyone showing symptoms recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as indicators of COVID-19 should not enter public buildings or facilities, but should seek medical attention and follow those directives.
Eating establishments are to be closed to in-person consumption and provide only take-out, delivery or drive-through services. Cafeterias within medical, industrial, government or other facilities providing essential services are exempt, but are encouraged to stagger meal times to achieve social distancing and follow CDC cleaning protocols.
Houses of worship are encouraged to use social media or other video outlets to broadcast services, and funeral homes should strive for density reduction. Graveside services of 10 or fewer are highly encouraged.
In general, citizens are instructed not to gather in groups of more than 10 at any location, and they are encouraged to limit travel as much as possible.
A long list of exempted businesses are classified as essential. They are mostly related to the distribution of food and gas, medicine, education, mail, supplies to work from home, transportation for essential travel, home-based businesses, and day care services for children of essential employees.
The resolution expires April 7 at 11:59 p.m. unless the council votes to extend it.