Commissioners pass two mask mandates to help slow the spread of COVID-19

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Community News, News

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At a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the Macon-Bibb County Commission approved two mandates requiring people to wear face masks or coverings when in public and in government facilities and vehicles, both when social distancing cannot be maintained. Both were passed in an ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect Middle Georgia.

One requires people to wear a face mask or covering when in public places and a good social distance of six feet from other people who do not share the same household, cannot be maintained. The other states no employee nor member of the public shall be admitted to any county property or to use a county vehicle unless he or she is wearing a face covering or mask.

“We need to make sure everybody understands how very important it is to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect Middle Georgia, and face masks play a major role in protecting other people,” says Mayor Pro Tem Al Tillman, who sponsored both Ordinances. “If our community and region are going to return to normal – full operations, children back in schools, having events and concerts – we need to all wear our masks, as well take every other precaution outlined by public health officials.”

“We are protecting our children, our grandchildren, our grandparents…our entire family and our friends…by requiring masks in public. This virus is only spreading further and further, and we have to take all precautions to protect each other and Middle Georgia,” says District 3 Commissioner and Board of Health Member Elaine Lucas. “This is about doing what’s right for the people we love, and for everyone we come into contact with.”

In addition to requiring face masks or coverings in public and in government facilities to help protect Middle Georgia and slow the spread of COVID-19, officials are asking people to follow ALL guidelines from the CDC guidelines, including:

  • Monitor your health daily and get tested if you show symptoms or believe you’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Avoid close contact with people, meaning at least six feet away;
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.

Both Ordinances outline exceptions, and those can be viewed by clicking the links below. Businesses and ordinances can also opt out of this mandate by posting the appropriate signage, an example of which is included with the Ordinance. To read in what situations masks are not required, read the penalties for people not complying with the Ordinances, and print off the opt-out signage, click on the links below. Even in places opting out of the mandate, the public is still strongly encouraged to wear face masks as a precautionary measure

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Public Area Exceptions

Facial Coverings or Masks are not required in public in the following circumstances:

  • Upon residential property;
  • In personal vehicles or other enclosed spaces occupied by only one person or shared only among household members;
  • For individuals who have a bona fide religious objection to wearing a Facial Covering or Mask;
  • For individuals who have a bona fide medical reason for not wearing a facial covering or mask;
  • While drinking, eating, or smoking;
  • When wearing a facial covering or mask would prevent an individual from receiving personal services or performing work in the course of his or her employment;
  • When complying with the directions of a law enforcement officer;
  • When the temporary removal of a facial covering or mask is necessary for the purpose of verifying a person’s identity, such as when purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs or when engaging in a financial transaction;
  • For children under the age of two (2) years;
  • For individuals who have difficulty donning or removing a Facial Covering or Mask without assistance;
  • At any polling place, provided further that 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; and
  • When participating in any amateur or professional sporting event in accordance with the requirements of the operative Governor’s Executive Order.

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Government Facilities Exceptions

Face coverings or masks are not required in government facilities in the following circumstances:

  • In any County Property or Separate Location within any County Property leased by Macon-Bibb County to any other person or entity, except as may be required by the tenant of such building or Separate Area;
  • In any County Property, Separate Location within any County Property, or any County Vehicle provided by Macon-Bibb County for the use of any constitutional officer or elected official, except as may be required by such constitutional officer or elected official;
  • In any Separate Location within any County Property where such Separate Location is occupied by only one person, or where all persons within such Separate Location are practicing Social Distancing; provided that a Facial Covering or Mask shall be worn if anybody enters into such Separate Location and Social Distancing can no longer be maintained;
  • In any County Vehicle when occupied by only one person;
  • For individuals who have a bona fide religious objection to wearing a Facial Covering or Mask;
  • For individuals who have a bona fide medical reason for not wearing a facial covering or mask;
  • When drinking or eating while practicing Social Distancing;
  • When wearing a Facial Covering or Mask would prevent an individual from performing work in the course of his or her employment;
  • When complying with the directions of a law enforcement officer;
  • When the temporary removal of a Facial Covering or Mask is necessary for the purpose of verifying a person’s identity;
  • For children under the age of two (2) years;
  • For individuals who have difficulty donning or removing a Facial Covering or Mask without assistance;
  • At any polling place, provided further that no individual shall be denied ingress or egress to or from a polling place for failure to wear a Facial Covering or Mask; and
  • When, in the discretion of the Mayor or County Manager, an exception to the requirements of this Ordinance is authorized.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For complete details, including penalties and when the Ordinances will expire, click here for the general public Ordinance and click here for the Ordinance related to government facilities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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