Local Governments Issue Emergency Management Purpose Order in Response to COVID-19

On Tuesday, March 24, Lowndes County and the Cities of Valdosta, Remerton, Hahira, Lake Park, and Dasher issued a Local Emergency Management Purpose Order that prohibits on-premises dining at restaurants; allows take-out and delivery services daily; and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 persons.

Many restaurants in our community have already voluntarily transitioned to a take-out and/or delivery model, closing their in-person dining facilities in order to reduce community transmission of the COVID-19 virus in response to CDC guidelines.

As part of this order, Residents are encouraged to adhere to a voluntary stay at home measure unless they are participating in outdoor exercise activities, traveling to or from work, or visiting an essential business for example but not limited to grocery stores, banks, hospitals, or daycare facilities.

The order also details:
• All gyms and fitness centers to close during the period of this order
• All restaurants to implement employee screening and prohibit any employee from entering the restaurant if they show symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with any person(s) known to be infected with COVID-19.
• No worship services should be held if they attended by more than ten people. Faith-based organizations are encouraged to live stream or use remote service options.
• All entertainment and recreation facilities such as dance studios, gymnastics, etc. to close during the period of this order

The order goes into effect at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, and will last until 12:00 p.m. on Monday, April 6.

“We need our residents to recognize and adhere to this voluntary order to shelter in place. Please stay at home – except for certain essential activities,” said Mayor Scott James Matheson. “As a community, we have an opportunity to take actions that have a known effect to slow transmission of the COVID-19 virus and reduce infections. These orders in the local declaration were crafted with great care and great thought. When this is over, we want to be able to we look back and not question whether we did enough.”

“Officials are sensitive to the impact this order will have on Valdosta-Lowndes County with regards to our local economy. Citizens are encouraged now, more than ever, to find ways to support each other as we move through the response of COVID-19 together. Please continue to pray for our healthcare community, first responders, volunteers and others, that must remain on the frontline of this event,” said County Commission Chairman, Bill Slaughter. “While together we are better - each of you, individually, will determine the success of this action through your willingness to respect social distancing.”

Please refer to the order in its entirety for more details.