Mike Boyce issues state of emergency declaration for Cobb County

Cobb BOC Chairman Mike Boyce at the county's Emergency Response CenterCobb BOC Chairman Mike Boyce at the county's Emergency Response Center (photo courtesy of Cobb County)

This afternoon Chairman Mike Boyce of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Cobb County due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a special session of the BOC this morning, Boyce solicited email input from the commissioners in preparation for finalizing the declaration.

Cobb Communications Director Ross Cavitt distributed the following news release outlining the decision:

March 24, 2020 | Chairman Mike Boyce took the next step in the county’s coronavirus COVID-19 preparedness plan today and issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

The proclamation activates the Emergency Operations Plan and orders restrictions for residents to shelter in place consistent with the Declaration.

The local declaration helps remove roadblocks and allows the County to prioritize resources, seek intergovernmental resources, handle procurement issues, coordinate an effective response and work to help County residents respond to this pandemic emergency.Starting at 12 pm on March 25, 2020, and continuing until April 15, 2020, public gatherings — whether inside or outdoors — of more than 10 people are prohibited anywhere in the county.

The county has closed all parks and recreation buildings until further notice.

“This is unprecedented times for the nation, state and Cobb County,” Chairman Boyce said. “The health and safety of our residents is our top priority. We are taking the necessary steps as recommended by public health experts to ensure that the county is prepared and responding to this virus, and this order helps us do that.”

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting Tuesday where Dr. Janet Memark, Director of Cobb & Douglas Public Health, addressed commissioners telling them this is a critical week in the fight against the virus’s spread.

“We only have one weapon,” Dr. Memark said. “We have no vaccine and we have no medicine, the only thing we have is to keep people apart to keep transmission from happening.”

Chairman Boyce said the Declaration may need to be revised if public health experts do not believe it is significantly slowing the rate of the virus’s spread.

“If we need to consider closing all non-essential businesses and tighten other provisions we will do that to protect the residents of this County,” he said.

To date, there are currently 86 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Cobb County.

All businesses except “Essential Businesses” (as referenced in the Declaration), can operate no earlier than 6 a.m. and no later than 9 p.m.

The executive order requires restaurants to close dining rooms to the public and perform only take-out or delivery services.

All Essential Businesses which remain open for use by the public must take the necessary steps to restrict in-person contact and maintain a distance of 6 feet between individuals while in the establishment.

A defined list of essential businesses is included in the Declaration which can be viewed from Cobb County’s COVID-19 page on cobbcounty.org.

“We are encouraging all our departments to consider every opportunity to partner with our citizens and businesses to alleviate and ameliorate the economic impact of this pandemic,” said County Manager Rob Hosack.

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