The McDuffie County Board of Commissioners, Thomson and Dearng City Councils met for a virtual special called meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, via Zoom, a conference call website.

Community leaders  voted on and approved a joint resolution in support of an emergency order for public health control measures within McDuffie County and the cities of Thomson and Dearing.  

Of particular note is a curfew for local teenagers that will go into effect Wednesday, March 25, according to County Administrator David Crawley.

The curfew applies to individuals younger than age 18 and will be from the hours of  8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for a period of time not to exceed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive order.

Kemp  issued an order on March 23, implementing numerous restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The governor directed that bars and nightclubs close during the pandemic.

Individuals who would be exempt from the curfew include: individuals in the presence of and with a natural parent or guardian; individuals traveling to and from their places of employment with appropriate identification; individuals traveling to a medical facility; and individuals engaging in their employment.

Other restrictions contained in the joint resolution pertain to protecting individuals Gov. Kemp recently described as “medically fragile” citizens. These groups of people must be isolated, quarantined or shelter in place within their homes to avoid contracting COVID-19, the coronavirus; Those persons who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; those persons who have chronic lung disease; those persons who are currently undergoing cancer treatment; and those persons included in Department of Public Health Administrative Order

Other restrictions include social distancing measures, such as not allowing more than 10 people to gather at a single location “if such a gathering requires people to stand or be seated within 6 feet of another person.”

County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton wondered if enforcement would be made difficult for the health department, such as in the case of people dining in a local restaurant. He wondered how one would know if there was a violation, meaning how could one tell if a group of diners are family members or not.

Crawley answered that most restaurants in the community, if they are still open, have closed their dining rooms and are offering take-out service.

“They’re also worried about the health and safety of their employees,” he said.

Crawley offered leaders a daily COVID-19 status report. As of press time Tuesday, there were no confirmed coronavirus cases in McDuffie County. However, counties surrounding McDuffie do have confirmed cases: 4 in Columbia County, 11 in Richmond County, and 1 case each in Lincoln, Burke and Washington counties.

Georgia had 1,026 confirmed cases and 32 deaths statewide as of noon on Tuesday, March 24, according to the Department of Public Health.

The Progress will make a copy of the full resolution available to readers online.

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