An emergency declaration issued by the Hart County Board of Commissioners Friday afternoon supports Gov. Brian Kemp’s order to shelter-in-place and practice social distancing.
The board of commissioners met for an emergency called meeting at noon Friday in the courthouse to discuss a local emergency declaration in relation to Kemp’s statewide shelter-in-place order which was issued Thursday and set to go into effect at 6 p.m. Friday. The local declaration was approved unanimously by the commissioners.
County attorney Walter Gordon suggested the board adopt the emergency declaration which supersedes the county’s previous emergency declaration issued on March 24.
As part of the governor’s order, Gordon explained, the enforcement of all county or city ordinances or orders, that are issued after March 1 and conflict with the governor’s order in responding to COVID-19, is suspended, according to Kemp’s order issued April 2.
“No county or municipality shall adopt any similar ordinance or order while this Order is in effect, except for such ordinances or orders as are designed to enforce compliance with this Order,” the governor’s order says.
Hart County’s declaration “emphasizes the social distancing requirements. It emphasizes the shelter-in-place. It recites that the enforcement is to be handled by state of Georgia law enforcement agencies with P.O.S.T. certification,” Gordon said.
Following the meeting, Kemp issued an order deputizing all Sheriffs of the state and authorized them to "enforce the closure of businesses, establishments, corporations, nonprofit corporations or organizations" not complying with the shelter-in-place order he signed on Thursday.
Essential and non-essential businesses are outlined in the governor’s order and further explained on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website, Gordon said. A list of essential and non-essential businesses is scheduled to be posted to the Hart County Board of Commissioners' website. The county is referring public questions to the state, board chairman Joey Dorsey told The Hartwell Sun after Friday’s emergency meeting.
Hart County’s emergency declaration goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday and will go until midnight on April 13, but county officials think it could go on longer than that.
“My gut feeling is it will have to be extended after that as well, but that can be done by separate action,” Gordon said in the meeting.
Dorsey said it’s likely the order will be extended to the end of the month.
The county is scheduled to post the declaration to their website. The governor’s order can be found in the link below.
Department of Homeland Security’s list of essential industries: https://www.cbia.com/resources/coronavirus/coronavirus-state-federal-updates/department-homeland-security-essential-industries/