DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond issued an executive order, effective April 24 at 12 a.m., to lay out a path forward from the COVID-19 emergency for businesses, residents and citizens. The order does not conflict with state orders, and provides a 30-day transition plan for the county.
The order, Thurmond said, may be amended as necessary in order to adapt to the ever-changing health and economic situation in DeKalb County.
“As we address the health issues of the pandemic, we cannot ignore the economic impact,” said CEO Thurmond. “Even as we flatten the curve, we cannot become overly comfortable and walk away from strategies that have worked so far.”
In the order, citizens are urged to wear cloth face coverings at all times in public and continue to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, citizens who are over 65, reside in nursing or long-term care facilities or are medically fragile are urged to stay at home unless seeking medical care.
For businesses, the order reiterates Gov. Brian Kemp’s 20 statewide reopening mandates, but encourages businesses to take an additional nine steps.
“The path forward maintains mitigation efforts that have begun to show success to protect the health of our citizens and begin to restore our economy,” said CEO Thurmond. “We will do the right thing.”
Utilizing strategies in place by DeKalb County Government, the order advises businesses to enhance operations by:
- Requiring workers to report when a member of their household is ill and not report to work.
- Considering implementing additional front-line pay and expanding leave policies while the state is under an emergency declaration.
- Encouraging patrons to wear cloth face covers at all times.
- Obtaining adequate personal protective equipment without interfering with supply to healthcare workers.
- Enhancing sanitation practices, including frequent daily cleaning of public spaces.
Anyone witnessing a violation of the state or county executive orders is encouraged to contact Georgia’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-844-442-2681.
Houses of worship are encouraged to continue providing remote and physically distant services.
The order also requests the Georgia Department of Public Health to expand testing and contact tracing prior to the end of May. It also urges the governor, General Assembly and Georgia Department of Public Health to assist and support a rigorous investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak in southwest Georgia and disproportionate impact on African-American and other communities of color in DeKalb and the state.
“There is no genetic connection to people of color,” said CEO Thurmond. “COVID-19 is an equal opportunity killer.”
DeKalb County expects to receive $132.5 million in federal relief funds from the CARES program.