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Guyton Drafts Ordinance in Conflict with State Order on Mask Mandates, $1,000 Fine for Violations

The City of Guyton in South Georgia’s Effingham County plans to pass an emergency ordinance related to COVID-19 Thursday evening – just one day after Governor Brian Kemp barred local governments once again from taking action more or less restrictive than any state order on the coronavirus pandemic response.

The City of Guyton in South Georgia’s Effingham County plans to vote on an emergency ordinance related to COVID-19 Thursday evening – just one day after Governor Brian Kemp barred local governments once again from taking action more or less restrictive than any state order on the coronavirus pandemic response.

The city announced Wednesday that it would be having an emergency meeting to pass an emergency ordinance on Thursday evening. Wednesday afternoon citizens inquired on the official city Facebook page as to when the ordinance would be available for review and the city made it available Thursday morning, approximately nine hours before the meeting.

The ordinance, if approved, would mandate a number of more restrictive precautions, including face coverings in any building open to the public within the city limits. The ordinance seeks to require businesses to mandate masks for patrons, regardless of business type.

Additionally, the ordinance moves the city backward from state re-opening measures, including:

  • prohibiting more than 10 people in an establishment if social distancing cannot be adhered to;
  • declaration of a business or person with repeated violations as a ‘public nuisance;’
  • complete closure of city hall and all public property to the public.

Persons who violate the order would be subject to upwards of $1,000 in civil fines.

The ordinance would remain in effect until August 12 unless otherwise extended by the Council and children under 10 are exempt entirely. Exceptions are also outline for persons who are eating, smoking, or drinking, in personal vehicles, in their residence, and a handful of others.

While most city and county governments have returned to in-person meetings, Guyton has been conducting official meetings via teleconference. Thursday’s call in information is as follows:

Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. 
Dial – in Number:  (469) 445-0100
Meeting ID:  148 783 3137

The proposed ordinance in its entirety is below.

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Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

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