Derek Norton issues executive order requiring face coverings in Smyrna

Smyrna City Hall in article about Smynra small business grantsSmyrna City Hall (photo by Larry Felton Johnson, Licensed under Creative Commons 4.0)

Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton issued an executive order today requiring the use of face coverings in public with the exception of a list of exclusions delineated in the order.

The exceptions include individuals within vehicles, people with religious objections to face coverings, people with medical conditions that would be aggravated by face covering, those sitting at a table in a restaurant eating, and a number of other exclusions.

The following is the entire text of the order as it was posted to the City of Smyrna website:

Dear Smyrna:

 This Executive Order #5 for Mask and Face Coverings becomes effective at 11:59 pm on Friday, August 21, 2020. It is consistent with the Order issued by Governor Kemp which allows for the strengthening of local provisions regarding face coverings. It is our intent to provide support to local businesses and to continue to do everything we can to protect the health, safety and welfare of Smyrna citizens and staff.

Mayor Derek Norton

Content of Order Below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 5

AN EXECUTIVE ORDER BY THE MAYOR REQUIRING THE USE OF MASKS OR FACE COVERINGS IN PUBLIC DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic as of March 11, 2020; 

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the outbreak of COVID-19; 

WHEREAS, on March 14, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp declared that a public health emergency exists in the State of Georgia due to the spread of COVID-19 within Georgia; 

WHEREAS, on March 20,2020, pursuant to Section 30-32.2 of the Smyrna Code of Ordinances, Mayor Derek Norton issued aDeclaration of Emergency; 

WHEREAS, subsequent to the Declaration of Emergency, the city has required that anyone entering a public building must wear a facial covering and continues this practice presently;

WHEREAS, a significant number of Georgia residents are at risk of serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19; 

WHEREAS, a large number of persons with serious infections can compromise the ability of the healthcare system to deliver necessary care to the public; 

WHEREAS, individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 have been known to experience long-term health effects following recovery from acute COVID-19 symptoms; 

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, transmitted through person-to-person contact or by contact with surfaces contaminated with the virus and persons infected with COVID- 19 may become symptomatic two to fourteen days after exposure;

WHEREAS, asymptomatic (including presymptomatic) infected persons are known to be infectious and, without mitigation many infections occur from individuals without symptoms; 

WHEREAS, respiratory droplets, including aerosols, from infected persons are a major mode of COVID-19 transmission. This understanding is the basis of the recommendations for physical distancing, and of the personal protective equipment guidance for healthcare workers. Droplets do not only come from coughing or sneezing; droplets are also generated via talking and breathing; 

WHEREAS, evidence indicates that the use of face coverings reduces the transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected droplets in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public face covering wearing is most effective at stopping the spread of the virus when compliance is high. This evidence supports the conclusion that the adoption of more widespread face covering requirements can help to control the COVID-19 epidemic by reducing the shedding of droplets into the environment from asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals; 

WHEREAS, decreased transmissibility due to face covering use could substantially reduce the number of illnesses, hospitalization, and deaths and reduce the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of the intervention of mandating the wearing of masks is extremely low; 

WHEREAS, O.C.G.A. § 38-3-28(a) grants political subdivisions the power to supplement the Governor’s Executive Orders so long as such actions are consistent with the Governor’s Orders;

WHEREAS, this Order is intended to be entered with due regard to the widely accepted, scientifically proven uniform principle that masks or facial coverings will slow the spread of COVID-19; 

WHEREAS, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-3-51, the Governor’s declared public health emergency authorizes the City to use emergency powers in O.C.G.A. §§ 38-3-1 through 38-3-64;

WHEREAS, on August 15, 2020, Governor Kemp issued Executive Order 08.15.20.01 which specifically offers guidelines for local government mask mandates; 

WHEREAS, the following actions related to requiring facial coverings in public are necessary and appropriate to balance the public’s interest in not being unduly burdened with the compelling public interest of providing for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City;

WHEREAS, the goal of this Order is to increase the usage of facial coverings and masks and not revenue generation; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED that for the protection of members of the public, facial coverings or masks shall be required within the City to slow the spread of COVID-19 as follows: 

SECTION 1.

(a)        For purposes of this Order, the following terms are hereby defined as follows:

(1)        Entity means any private business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation, or organization, including the curtilage thereof.

(2)        Facial covering or mask means a device to cover the nose and mouth of a person and impedes the spread of saliva, respiratory droplets, or other fluids during speaking, coughing, sneezing or other intentional or involuntary action. Medical grade masks are not required; coverings may be fashioned as advised by the CDC and from other suitable fabrics. The mask must cover the mouth and nose of the wearer.

(3)        Polling place means the room provided in each precinct for voting at a primary or election.

(4)        Public place means any place other than a personal vehicle, residential property, or an entity including the curtilage thereof.

(b)        Except as otherwise provided in this Order all persons in an entity or a public place shall wear a facial covering or mask over the mouth and nose at all times where other physical distancing measure may be difficult to maintain from non-cohabitating persons.

(c)        Facial coverings or masks are not required in the following circumstances:

(1)        In personal vehicles or upon residential property;

(2)        When a person is alone in enclosed spaces or only with other household members;

(3)        When the individual has a bona fide religious objection to wearing a facial covering or mask;

(4)        While sitting at a table at a restaurant or drinking or eating;

(5)        When a licensed healthcare provider has determined that wearing a facial covering or mask causes or aggravates a health condition for the individual or when such person has a bona fide medical reason for not wearing a facial covering or mask;

(6)        When wearing a facial covering or mask would prevent the receipt of personal services or performing work in the course of employment;

(7)        When complying with the directions of a law enforcement officer or for the purposes of verifying a person’s identity, such as when purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs or when engaging in a financial transaction;

(8)        Children under the age of ten (10) years;

(9)        When the individual is having difficulty donning or removing a face mask or face covering without assistance;

(10)      At any polling place and no individual shall be denied ingress or egress to or from a polling place for failure to wear a facial covering or mask; and

(11)     When outdoors and maintaining social distancing from others.

(12)      When outdoors with individuals with whom they cohabitate.

(d)       (1)        Every person or entity subject to this Order which does not consent to enforcement of this Order upon its private property shall post a clearly legible sign in one inch Arial font at all public entrances of such entity stating the following: “This location does not consent to enforcement of any local face covering requirement upon this property.” If this is done, the entity is exempt from this Order.

(2)        If an entity does not post the signage described in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph it shall be conclusively presumed to have consented to enforcement of this Order on its property and failures by individuals to wear facial coverings or masks as required by this order shall be determined to be a violation.

(e)        NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that anyone who refuses to wear a facial covering as required herein, and as a result is instructed to leave by an authorized representative of the property or business owner, and after receiving such notice refuses to leave, may be prosecuted for trespass. 

 SO ORDERED AND EFFECTIVE 11:59PM, Friday, the 21rst day of August 2020.

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