VALDOSTA, Ga.(WTXL) — The Valdosta City Council has voted to approve the Local Option Face Covering Ordinance that requires face coverings in public places and government buildings in the city.
The ordinance was passed on Wednesday with a 4-3 vote.
This passage of this ordinance comes after Governor Brian Kemp issued an Executive Order on August 15, which granted local governments the authority to issue requirements that citizens wear face coverings in public places.
The city’s ordinance will go into effect Thursday, August 27.
Gov. Brian Kemp's executive order allowing municipalities to mandate face covering ordinances expires at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31 unless extended or rescinded.
The Ordinance requires that individuals wear a mask when in an entity or public place where other physical distancing measures may be difficult to maintain from non-cohabitating persons.
The Ordinance also specifies that businesses that do not consent with the mask ordinance within their facilities post a "clearly legible sign in one-inch Arial font at all public entrances" stating, "This location does not require the use of masks or facial coverings upon this property."
There are exemptions to the City’s Ordinance that preclude the requirement to wear a mask. Any person who is unable to safely wear a mask or face covering due to age, underlying health condition(s), or is unable to remove the mask or face covering without the assistance of others is exempt from this Ordinance.
The Ordinance will not apply to the following:
- In personal vehicles or on residential property;
- When a person is alone in enclosed spaces or only with other household members;
- When the individual has a religious objection to wearing a facial covering or mask;
- While drinking or eating;
- When a licensed healthcare provider has determined that wearing a facial covering or mask causes or aggravates a health condition for the individual or when such person has a medical reason for not wearing a facial covering or mask;
- When wearing a facial covering or mask would prevent the receipt of personal services or performing work in the course of employment;
- When complying with the directions of a law enforcement officer or for the purposes of verifying a person’s identity, such as when purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs or when engaging in a financial transaction;
- Children under the age of ten (10) years;
- At any polling place and no individual shall be denied ingress or egress to or from a polling place for failure to wear a facial covering or mask;
- When outdoors and maintaining social distancing from anyone other than individuals with whom they cohabitate
The ordinance will be enforced by city police officers, code enforcement officers, and/or other authorized law enforcement officials.
Officials say education will be the first step in enforcement. We will work to educate any violators of the ordinance before pursuing further action.
VThose not in compliance will be asked to provide proof of a mask, and if they do not, will receive a warning on the first offense. Additional failure to comply with this ordinance can result in a $50 citation for individuals.