A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BREMEN, STATE OF GEORGIA, TO DECLARE A LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY RELATED TO COVID-19, TO IMPOSE SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS, TO PROHIBIT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN TEN (10) PEOPLE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
WHEREAS, the City of Bremen, Georgia (the City) and the surrounding community are experiencing an event of critical significance as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease (COVID-19); and
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) indicates that COVID-19 is a new and contagious respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations around the world, including in the United States; and
WHEREAS, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the world has experienced a deep humanitarian crisis with more than 350,000 cases and more than 15,000 deaths due to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 is officially a global pandemic according to the WHO; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency for the United States of America in response to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 14, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp declared a public health Emergency due to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the Chairmen of the Carroll County and Haralson County Boards of Commissioners have declared a public health emergency in Carroll County and Haralson County, Georgia; and
WHEREAS, as reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health, as of March 23, 2020, Georgia now has over 620 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and twenty (20) COVID-19 related deaths; and
WHEREAS, the CDC has issued guidance on the emerging and rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to protect oneself from illness; and
WHEREAS, social distancing is recommended by the CDC to prevent the continued spreading of the illness in the community; and
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Donald Trump issued his Coronavirus Guidelines for America, which instructs people to listen to their local authorities and to avoid social gatherings of more than (10) people; and
WHEREAS, these guidelines have been adopted by state and local public health officials as well; and
WHEREAS, cities, states, and counties throughout the country have imposed temporary restrictions related to public and private gatherings to stop large numbers of people from gathering and staying in close proximity during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, the CDC expects that additional cases of COVID-19 will be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States, and that person-to-person spread is likely to continue to occur; and
WHEREAS, local emergency hospital personnel have reported to the Mayor and City Council that they are treating patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, medical professionals have advised that if COVID-19 spreads in the City and the rest of Georgia, at a rate comparable to the rate of spread in other affected areas, it may greatly strain the resources and capabilities of county and municipal governments, including public health agencies, that provide essential services for containing and mitigating the spread of contagious diseases, such as COVID-19, and the situation may become too large in scope to be handled in its entirety by the normal county and municipal operating services in some parts of this State, and this situation may spread to other parts of the State; and
WHEREAS, in the judgment of the Mayor and City Council, as of the date of this Ordinance, there exist emergency circumstances as a result of COVID-19 within the geographical boundaries of the City requiring extraordinary and immediate corrective actions for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of BREMEN and the surrounding communities; and
WHEREAS, to prevent or minimize injury to people resulting from this pandemic, the Mayor and City Council find that certain actions are required, including but not limited to, the social distancing measures set forth herein; and
WHEREAS, WHEREAS, Section 1.04(g) of the Charter of the City of Bremen authorizes the Mayor and Council to establish procedures for determining and proclaiming that an emergency situation exists within or without the city, and to make and carry out all reasonable provisions deemed necessary to deal with or meet such an emergency for the protection, safety, health or well-being of the citizens of the city, through the adoption of one or more emergency ordinances; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sec. 38-3-28, the Mayor and City Council are authorized to make, amend, and rescind orders, rules, and regulations as necessary for emergency purposes and to supplement carrying out the emergency management laws; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sec. 38-3-51, the Governors declared public health emergency authorizes the Mayor and City Council to use emergencies powers in O.C.G.A. Sections 38-3-1 through 38-3-64; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sec. 38-3-6, during an emergency, O.C.G.A. Sections 38-3-1 through 38-3-64 are supposed to be liberally construed to effectuate their purposes.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and City Council of Bremen do hereby declare that a local state of emergency exists within the territorial limits of the City of Bremen, Georgia, and shall continue until the conditions requiring this declaration are abated. THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED as follows:
1. The Mayor and Council hereby declare a state of emergency in the City of Bremen, which will remain in force until midnight on the 31st day of May, 2020, unless sooner repealed or otherwise extended.
2. This Declaration and Order is issued based on evidence of increasing occurrence of COVID-19 within the community and throughout the State of Georgia, scientific evidence and best practices regarding the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable diseases generally and COVID-19 specifically, and evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population of the City places it at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in the general public, which is now a pandemic according to the World Health Organization, there is a public health emergency throughout the City. Making the problem worse, some individuals who contract the COVID19 virus have no symptoms or have mild symptoms, which means they may not be aware they carry the virus. Because even people without symptoms can transmit the disease, and because evidence shows the disease is easily spread, gatherings can result in preventable transmission of the virus. The scientific evidence shows that at this stage of the emergency, it is essential to slow virus transmission as much as possible to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. One proven way to slow the transmission is to limit interactions among people to the greatest extent practicable. By reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this Order helps preserve critical and limited healthcare capacity in the City.
3. The intent of this Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. When people need to leave their places of residence, whether to obtain or perform vital services, or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life, they should at all times reasonably possible comply with social distancing requirements set forth below. All provisions of this Order should be interpreted to effectuate this intent. Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this Order constitutes an imminent threat to public health.
4. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence. To the greatest extent feasible, all businesses shall comply with these social distancing requirements, including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line.
5. All public and private gatherings of more than ten (10) people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited. Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit. This prohibition shall not apply to the following:
a. employers and employees gathered at their place of work;
b. grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware stores, department stores, building supply stores, and the like;
c. hospitals, doctors offices, and other health care facilities; or
d. any Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce as defined by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
6. For the duration of the declared emergency, there shall be no public gatherings on any property owned or controlled by the City of Bremen. To avoid confusion, the following definitions shall apply under this Section:
a) a public gathering shall mean the organized gathering or assembly of multiple persons (groups greater than 10 in number) at a specific location.
b) property owned or controlled by the City of Bremen shall include any park, public square, public space, playground, recreational area, or similar place of public gathering, but nothing herein shall prohibit individuals or families from using sidewalks, or designated pedestrian areas of parks for walking or other exercise where no organized gathering is occurring.
7. Any deadlines for the purchasing or obtaining of business licenses, permits or similar civil approvals mandated by the City Code shall be tolled for the duration of the emergency as established herein, and for 15 days thereafter
8. Any other public and private gatherings of people occurring outside a household or living unit may be prohibited or suspended upon the execution of a Declaration of Emergency Powers signed by the Mayor and any two City Councilmen.
9. All bars, restaurants, or businesses who sell food or beverages for consumption on premises or who provide entertainment on premises shall be closed to in-person dining, consumption of alcohol, or entertainment until the expiration of this resolution, subject to the following:
a. Bars, restaurants, and other businesses who sell food may offer food for take-away or for customers to eat somewhere other than at the establishment.
b. Businesses affected by these closures shall establish systems that restrict in-person contact as much as possible. Such processes may include the business taking the food to the customers vehicle rather than the customer coming inside the business.
c. Furthermore, business shall ensure that all onsite consumption of food is prohibited, and that employees and contractors of the business maintain at least 6 feet of personal distance between themselves as much as possible given the physical constraints of the premises.
d. If a restaurant is licensed to sell beer, wine, and/or distilled spirits for on-premises consumption, such business during the efficacy of this resolution only shall be authorized to sell unopened containers of beer, wine, and distilled spirits for take-out consumption off-premises.
10. For the duration of the declared emergency, the City Manager and the Assistant City Manager, as delegated by the City Manager, shall be vested with the following discretion and authority, to wit:
a) To categorize City services as either required or discretionary, identify necessary equipment and supply chains subject to interruption and develop a plan related to the provision of services by limited staff, subjected to limited supplies and resources,
b) To identify key employees and services that must continue to be provided,
c) To assign, or reassign, specific employees to required or discretionary services, and to periodically review and modify such assignments,
d) To analyze whether it is feasible for certain employees to work remotely and what specific technological needs are required to make such teleworking options viable,
e) To develop a plan for payment of bills, employee pay and other such financial considerations in the event of a full or partial shutdown,
f) To address infection control measures, workplace policies and sick time policies, among other issues,
g) To work with county emergency management, the sheriff and local and state health officials within the context of whatever joint emergency agreements are in place and state law,
h) To declare, on behalf of the Mayor and Council, hours of curfew and signage concerning areas of potential exposure and mitigation efforts which should be taken,
i) To temporarily suspend the provision of discretionary services and to direct employees who provide discretionary services not to report to work until such time as the service suspension is lifted or until such time as the City Manager redirects the employee to other services,
j) To provide wages to any employees who are directed not to report to work at the employees regular rate of pay,
k) The City Manager is authorized to pay any hourly (non-exempt) employees whose services are determined to be required an amount up to 1.5 times the individuals normal rate of pay,
l) To contract for and expend non-budgeted sums and services, as may in his discretion be required to meet the demands upon government and services of the City for the duration of the declared emergency, including therein authority to spend such sums from the reserves of the City. The City Manager shall keep a detailed ledger of all such non-budgeted expenditures shall report the same to the Mayor and Council at its next regularly scheduled meeting and/or by email or test delivery.
11. This Order is necessary to slow the rate of spread and the COVID19 virus, and the Mayor and City Council will re-evaluate it as further data becomes available, and may modify or extend this Order, or issue additional Orders, related to COVID-19..
12. The Mayor and City Council also make the findings set forth in the Whereas paragraphs part of the factual findings of the Mayor and City Council.
13. This Order is issued in accordance with, and incorporates by reference, the March 16, 2020, Proclamation of a State of Emergency issued by Governor Brian Kemp.
14. This Order comes after the release of substantial guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and other public health officials throughout the United States and around the world, including a variety of prior orders to combat the spread and harms of COVID19.
15. Any violations of this Order shall be considered ordinance violations subject to the general penalty provisions outlined in Section 1-7 of the Code of Ordinances, City of Bremen, Georgia.
16. This Order shall become effective immediately upon its adoption and will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Mayor and City Council.
17. Copies of this Order shall promptly be: (1) made available at City Hall; (2) posted on the Citys website; and (3) provided to any member of the public requesting a copy of this Order.
18. If any provision of this Order to the application thereof to any person, action or circumstance is held to be invalid, the reminder of the Order, including the application of such part or provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, the provisions of this Order are severable.
ADOPTED this 23rd day of March, 2020.