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City Council orders shelter in place

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Orders are in effect for 60 days, extension possible if needed

Milledgeville City Council ordered shelter in place to occur late last week following a unanimous vote in an emergency called meeting.

Wednesday, March 25 meeting was a follow up called by the council as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to pick up cases in Georgia.

City Attorney Jimmy Jordan said the decision was made while leadership took note about what was occurring throughout the state and how other communities were responding to the outbreak.

“We are just trying to cover every business and every situation,” he said.

Shelter in place did offer exceptions for essential employees, needed travel and the ability to get food from restaurants, shop at grocery stores and attend needed doctor appointments.

“The practicality of that is our residents are still going to be able to go to the grocery store, they are still able to go to the pharmacy,” Jordan said. “They can go to basically any essential business.”

Jordan said the point was to emphasize how important it was for people who didn’t require essential travel to remain at home.

Interim City Manager Hank Griffeth said he believed shelter-in-place was essential after he listened to health experts and making attempts to flatten the curve to prevent overwhelming of essential resources.

“If we don’t do something between now and April 12, we will be past the point of no return in our state,” he said. “I think it is what we have to do to have any potential to stop this and to not overwhelm our medical facilities.”

Griffeth also has the ability to determine what businesses are essential, not essential and can alternate those as needed.

Businesses and citizens were given about 48 hours notice after the order went into effect, without penalties or fines, to make sure the information was out there. The city also posted the guidelines on social media, their webpage and through other outlets.

Curfews remain in place in Milledgeville-Baldwin County from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Meanwhile, establishments that are considered essential are allowed to stay open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are exceptions given to healthcare facilities, doctor offices and pharmacies.