COVID-19 Information and Alerts
General Information and Actions
COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new virus that causes fever, cough and shortness of breath. The virus can cause severe illness including pneumonia in high risk populations such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
The virus impacts us all. Here you can find updated information and facts on this pandemic. Newton County has taken steps to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 and put safety measures in place for the community by:
- Adopting a mask ordinance
- Closing non-essential government offices March 20-June 15
- Closing the Josephine Brown Senior Center.
- Enacting a Shelter at Home Ordinance until Governor Brian Kemp's order went into place.
- Following the Governor’s Shelter at Home Ordinance
- Informing the public on COVID-19 best practices
- Operated under judicial emergency including prohibition on jury trial proceedings and conducting remote proceedings and in-person proceedings under public health guidelines
- Conducting BOC meetings via Zoom and Facebook Live and placing all meetings on our YouTube Channel.
- Cancelled Fall Youth Sports conducted by our Recreation Department and closed the gymnasium.
The President of the United States, Center for Disease Control, Governor and the Public Health Department are the lead agencies in the fight against COVID-19 and are making new procedures and policies daily. Please continue to check here for updates.
BOC adopts mask ordinance
The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution requiring masks in public areas in the unincorporated Newton County Tuesday evening. Masks are also required to enter Newton County government buildings. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided.
The ordinance follows Gov. Brian Kemp’s Executive Order from Aug. 15, 2020, permitting any local government to impose local option face covering requirements, for counties that meet the threshold requirement of more than 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. As of Aug. 17, 2020 Newton County had 1,813.91 cases per 100,000 people, per the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Effective at midnight to begin the day, Thursday, Aug. 20, the ordinance requires anyone over the age of 8-years to wear a face covering or mask in a public place in the unincorporated Newton County. Schools, daycares and other child care establishments should develop their own face-covering policies and procedures separate from this ordinance.
Exemptions to Newton County’s face covering ordinance include:
- When Social Distancing is both possible and being actively practiced;
- In personal vehicles;
- On residential property;
- On private property where the owner or legal occupant of the property does not consent to enforcement of this Ordinance (there shall be a presumption of consent to enforcement unless the owner/occupant affirmatively indicates otherwise);
- If a medical provider has advised against the use of a face covering due to an underlying medical issue or because wearing such covering presents a health, safety, or security risk;
- To the extent removal of the covering is necessary to receive personal services (e.g. haircuts or makeup);
- To the extent removal of a covering is necessary to treat or examine a person subject to the direction of a medical professional;
- When consuming food or beverages; however, a face covering shall be required when interacting with others who are not at an individual's immediate table (i.e. fellow patrons, servers, staff, etc.);
- To the extent temporary removal of the face cloth is necessary for the purposes of verifying a person's identity for the purposes of law enforcement, purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs;
- If a person is employed and working in their capacity as a governmental professional (i.e. public safety, fire, sanitation), or medical professional and is wearing more protective equipment or is otherwise prohibited from utilizing a face covering by the policy of their employer;
- If an employer consults with an occupational safety and health professional who determines in writing that face coverings are not appropriate for employees, because of heat or other health related or safety concerns;
- If wearing a mask poses a greater mental or physical health safety or security risk such as when a person has trouble breathing, is unconscious, is incapacitated, or is unable to remove or put on the face covering without assistance;
- If an individual has a bona fide conscientious objection to the wearing of a face covering based upon health, ethical, or religious reasons; or
- At any Polling Place, as defined under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-2(27), and no individual shall be denied ingress or egress to or from a Polling Place for failure to wear a face covering or face mask.
Anyone who violates the ordinance shall be given a written warning on first violation, and will be subject to a fine up to $50 dollars on the second. No violation of the ordinance is punishable by imprisonment.
The ordinance will expire at 11:59 p.m. Oct. 31 or upon the expiration or nonrenewal of the Governor’s Executive Order.
Governor Kemp Announced Reopening of Some Businesses Starting April 24
Governor Brian Kemp announced steps Monday, April 20, to begin to reopen Georgia’s economy. You can read the Governor’s remarks here. On July 31, Kemp extended his /DocumentCenter/View/3204 through Aug. 15, 2020.
Included in the Executive Order:
- All residents and visitors of Georgia shall practice Social Distancing (stay at least six feet apart and refrain from large groups) and refrain from gathering 50 people or more without maintaining six feet.
- All residents and visitors of Georgia are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable while outside their homes or place of residence, except when eating, drinking or exercising outdoors.
- All residents and visitors of Georgia shall practice sanitation in accordance with CDC guidelines.
- No business, establishments, corporation, non-profit or county or municipal government shall allow more than 50 people gather without social distancing.