A DECLARATION BY THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF HOSCHTON, GEORGIA OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY ARISING BECAUSE OF COVID-19; AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TAKING IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY MEASURES.
WHEREAS, the President of the United States declared a National Public Health Emergency on March 13, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of Georgia declared a State Public Health
Emergency on March 14, 2020 and urged “local officials to do what’s in the best interests of their communities to keep people safe and stop the spread of coronavirus” on March 19, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization has declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) a world health emergency and a pandemic; and
WHEREAS, the number of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 is escalating rapidly, internationally, nationally, and locally; and
WHEREAS, based upon the experience of other local governments in Georgia, a growing number of other cases are likely to occur; and
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the President of the United States stated that any gathering of over 10 people should be discontinued or prohibited; and
WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, Governor Kemp announced that “certain individuals with an increased risk of complications from COVID-19 to isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place,” covering those who “live in long-term care facilities, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms or exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19”, and that the Department of Public Health would institute rules and regulations to implement such measures; and
WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, Governor Kemp additionally announced measures to “close all bars and nightclubs and …ban all gatherings of ten or more people” unless they can assure spacing for at least six (6) feet apart between people at all times beginning at noon on March 24, 2020 and lasting until noon on April 6, 2020; and
WHEREAS, public health experts, including those at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have advised that individuals infected with COVID-19 are contagious even while experiencing minor or no symptoms and implored leaders to take immediate action to prevent further community spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, preventing and slowing community spread of COVID-19 provides health systems additional time to obtain personal protective equipment necessary to protect
health care workers and medical equipment necessary to treat COVID-19, and is therefore vital to the health of the nation; and
WHEREAS, in the judgment of the Mayor of the City of Hoschton, Georgia, there exist emergency circumstances located within its jurisdiction requiring extraordinary and immediate response for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the community, the state, and the nation; and
WHEREAS, it is essential for the Mayor to act immediately in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent or minimize sickness, injury, or death, to people and damage to property resulting from this public health crisis; and
WHEREAS, O.C.G.A. § 38-3-28 provides the political subdivisions of this state with the authority to make, amend, and rescind such orders, rules, and regulations as may be necessary for emergency management purposes to supplement rules and regulations promulgated by the Governor during a State of Emergency; and
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has previously held that “[u]pon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members”; and
WHEREAS, Section 1.13(g) of the Charter of the City of Hoschton provides the city with the authority to take actions deemed necessary to deal with such an emergency for the protection of the safety, health, and well-being of the citizens of the city; and
WHEREAS, Pursuant to Section 3-303 of the Hoschton City Code, under these conditions “prescribe such rules and regulations as may be deemed necessary or expedient for the conduct of administrative agencies subject to his authority;” and
WHEREAS, the two current members of the City Council of Hoschton are in agreement with this Declaration.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that a local state of emergency exists within the City of Hoschton, Georgia and shall continue until the conditions requiring this Declaration are abated.
THEREFORE, THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF HOSCHTON HEREBY DECLARES AND ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:
Findings of Fact. For purposes of describing the circumstances which warrant the adoption of an emergency declaration, the Mayor hereby adopts and makes the findings included in the “WHEREAS” clauses as findings of fact.
Declaration of Public Health State of Emergency. The Mayor hereby declares a public health state of emergency within the City of Hoschton because of the proliferation of COVID-19 in the United States and the State of Georgia, which will remain in force and effect until April 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended.
Public Gatherings on City Property. For the duration of the declared emergency, there shall be no public gatherings on any property owned or controlled by the City. To avoid confusion, the following definitions shall apply under this Section: a “public gathering” shall mean the organized gathering or assembly of ten (10) or more persons at a specific location; “property owned or controlled by the City” shall include any park, public square, public space, playground, recreational area, or similar place of public gathering, but nothing herein shall prohibit individuals or families from using sidewalks or designated pedestrian areas of parks for walking or other exercise if they are not participating in an organized gathering. The City Council and all other boards, commissions or agencies of the City, shall have authority to conduct meetings and take votes by teleconference in accordance with O.C.G.A. Section 50-14-1(g). The Mayor shall have authority to cancel any regularly scheduled meeting of the Council or of any board, commission or agency of the City during this emergency.
Utility Services. For the duration of the declared emergency, the City will not disconnect any public utility service provided by the City on account of non-payment. Unless otherwise ordered by City Council, after the conclusion of the declared emergency, persons will have a period of forty-five (45) days to make such payments before service may be disconnected.
Classification of City Services. For the duration of the declared emergency, the Mayor shall be vested with the following discretion and authority, to wit:
- To categorize City services as either “required” or “discretionary,” and to periodically review and modify such categories.
- To assign specific employees to required or discretionary services, and to periodically review and modify such assignments.
- To use his discretion to permit employees to telework.
- To temporarily suspend the provision of discretionary services and to direct employees who provide discretionary services not to report to work until such time as the service suspension is lifted or until such time as the Mayor redirects the employee to other services.
- To contract for and expend non-budgeted sums and services, as may in his discretion be required to meet the demands upon government and services of the City for the duration of the declared emergency, including therein authority to spend such sums from the reserves of the City. Any such non-budgeted expenditures shall be reported to the governing authority of the City.
- To maintain, to the best of the ability of the resources of the City, the provision of essential services, which shall include, but not be limited to, public safety, public works, healthcare, and building permits.
Tolling of Deadlines. Any deadlines for the purchasing or obtaining by persons or businesses of occupation tax certificates, permits or similar civil approvals mandated by the City Code shall be tolled for the duration of the emergency as established herein, and for 15 days thereafter. Such persons or businesses shall obtain necessary permissions required by law but deadlines set by the City Code are tolled for the duration of the emergency as established herein, and for 15 days thereafter.
Eating Establishments. Restaurants and other eating and dining establishments where food is served must cease offering dine-in services but may continue preparing and offering food to customers via delivery, drive-through or take-out services. Patrons, employees and contractors of the establishments must maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance between themselves and others. If a restaurant is licensed to sell beer and wine for on-premises consumption, such restaurant, during the effective dates of this Declaration only, shall be authorized to sell unopened bottles or cans of beer or wine for take-out consumption off-premises;
Closure of Certain Businesses. Gyms, fitness centers, pools, social clubs, amusement facilities, bowling alleys, pool halls, theaters, massage parlors, nail salons, and any other similar facility, any facility used for an activity that involves prolonged physical proximity of individuals, and any facility used for entertainment, social, grooming, or general health and wellbeing purposes, must close and remain closed for the duration of this emergency. Section 9.
Personal Distance. All other establishments not covered in Sections 7 or 8 of this Declaration such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other businesses which remain open during the emergency must post signage on entrance doors informing consumers to maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance between themselves and others and shall not allow more than ten (10) people into such establishment at any one time if such social distancing cannot be maintained.
Gatherings. All public and private gatherings of more than ten (10) people occurring outside of a household or living unit are prohibited. Nothing in this Declaration, however, prohibits the gathering of individuals for the purposes of carrying on business certified as
“essential” by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-
3-58 or designated by the Governor as “critical infrastructure” or the provision of medical or health services.
Emergency Interim Successor to Manager/Administrator. The Mayor desires to make certain that the chain of authority within city management is clear. If the Mayor is unable to perform his duties, then the individual designated by the Mayor as the emergency interim successor pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-3-50 shall assume the duties of the Mayor. Should the emergency interim successor be unable to perform those duties the Mayor Pro Tem, or other such person appointed by the Mayor, shall assume those duties.
Curfew. No curfew is imposed at this time, but the Mayor reserves the right to impose a curfew if the public fails to otherwise comply with this Declaration, or it becomes necessary to more fully address the declared emergency.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this Declaration are hereby suspended during the effective dates of this Declaration (or any extension thereof) and the terms and provisions of this Declaration shall prevail.
SO DECLARED AND ORDERED. this 27th day of March, 2020.
THE CITY OF HOSCHTON, GEORGIA
WHITE OAK SANITATION AND COVID-19
To our valued customer:
We are committed to the community to continue to provide our weekly trash and recycle services for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak without interruption. Sanitation services are considered essential services for public health. Our industry will not be subject to any possible work or travel restrictions.
The nature of our services place our employees at higher risk/higher exposure to possible infection from the novel coronavirus. On our end, we have implemented increased education, training and safety protocols to provide a safer working environment for our employees.
To further reduce the chance of inadvertent exposure, we need to further reduce contact chances. Effective immediately and until further notice, we will not be picking up and disposing of any items that are outside of White Oak trash or recycling carts. This includes extra trash bags, yard waste bags and bundles, bulk items, large boxes and personal carts. We also ask that any trash being placed into our carts be both bagged AND that bag be secured with a knot. We encourage the same for recycling items in the recycling cart. We will not be responsible for loose items in the cart or on the ground.
We hope you understand that these are temporary measures being made in an effort to maintain our employees health, our service continuity and our communities health.
White Oak Sanitation
The City of Hoschton is a small community and a wonderful place to call home. It is located just off Interstate 85 in Jackson County in north Georgia, about 35 miles northeast of the Atlanta perimeter. Jackson County is included in the 10 fastest growing counties in the country yet offers an abundance of open spaces and unspoiled views of the state’s Piedmont Region – just south of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our climate is moderate, pleasant, and enjoyable for a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Our city mixes the advantage of small town living and the convenience of being less than 45 minutes from urban areas such as Athens, Gainesville and metro Atlanta for shopping, dining and entertainment. On behalf of all of our citizens, please visit our community and make yourself at home!