Mayor Kelly Girtz issued a new Executive Order for Athens-Clarke County regarding masks and face coverings. This order applies to restaurants and other entities and is in effect until 11:59 p.m. on September 8th. This order will be enforced: 1. If confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Athens-Clarke County over the previous seven (7) days is equal to or greater than one hundred (100) cases per one hundred thousand (100,000) people according to the CDC; or 2. Until the Department of Public health reports a vaccination rate of 80% of Athens-Clarke County population.
According to the order, all persons in an entity or a public place shall wear a facial covering or mask over the mouth and nose at all times when indoors:
- Entity means any private business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation, or organization, including the curtilage thereof.
- Public place means any place other than a personal vehicle, residential property, or an entity including the curtilage thereof.
Masks are not required in the following circumstances:
- In personal vehicles or upon residential property;
- When a person is alone in enclosed spaces or only with other members of the same household;
- When the individual has a bona fide 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 some other bona fide 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;
- When the individual cannot don or remove a face mask or face covering without undue assistance;
- 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; and
According to the order, entities subject to this ordinance can opt-out of having the ordinance enforced on their premises:
- To not consent of enforcement of ordinance, entity must post a clear, legible sign in one inch Arial font at all public entrances stating “This location does not consent to enforcement of any local face covering requirement upon this property.”
- If no sign posted, the ordinance will be enforced on individuals to wear face coverings or masks accordingly.
According to the order, the enforcement will be:
- A person will be first given a warning and chance to comply
- If person does not comply, the first offense is a $25 civil penalty, the second and subsequent offenses are $50
- Violations will not be issued to entity and shall not be taken against any owner, director, officer, or agent of an entity solely because of the failure of their customers to comply with this Order.
- Every reasonable effort should be made to bring person to voluntary compliance before notice of violation issued.
In addition, the ordinance temporarily suspends open container laws for patrons and employees of properly licensed restaurants for the purpose of serving or consuming said beverages in an approved Outdoor Retail Area.
You can read the full executive order and view all the exemptions listed HERE.