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Lowndes County issues voluntary shelter-in-place order, bans large gatherings

Posted: 9:27 AM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 09:43:47-04
Lowndes County Emergency Management

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Lowndes County officials came together to announce a ban on gatherings of 10 people or more, a voluntary order to shelter-in-place and the closure of all gyms and recreation facilities.

The order goes into effect at noon on Tuesday and will last until noon on Monday, April 6.

Tuesday morning, Lowndes County Commission Chairman and Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, alongside the mayors of Remerton, Hahira, Lake Park and Dasher, held a press conference at the Lowndes County Emergency Operations Center.

As part of this order, residents are encouraged to follow a voluntary stay at home measure unless they are participating in outdoor exercise activities, traveling to or from work, or visiting an essential business (grocery stores, banks, hospitals, daycare facilities., etc.).

“We need our residents to recognize and adhere to this voluntary order to shelter in place. Please stay at home – except for certain essential activities,” said Mayor Scott James Matheson. “As a community, we have an opportunity to take actions that have a known effect to slow transmission of the COVID-19 virus and reduce infections. These orders in the local declaration were crafted with great care and great thought. When this is over, we want to be able to we look back and not question whether we did enough.”

Along with the voluntary shelter-in-place order, officials issued a mandatory order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people.

That order also prohibits on-premises dining at restaurants, but does allow your favorite local restaurant to offer take-out and delivery services.

The order also details:

  • All gyms and fitness centers to close during the period of this order
  • All restaurants to implement employee screening and prohibit any employee from entering the restaurant if they show symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with any person(s) known to be infected with COVID-19.
  • No worship services should be held if they attended by more than ten people. Faith-based organizations are encouraged to live stream or use remote service options.
  • All entertainment and recreation facilities such as dance studios, gymnastics to close

"Many restaurants in our community have already voluntarily transitioned to a take-out and/or delivery model, closing their in-person dining facilities in order to reduce community transmission of the COVID-19 virus in response to CDC guidelines," officials wrote in a press release.

Leaders are also urging people to support local businesses while practicing social distancing.

Global Coronavirus Tracker:

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.