Cobb County issues statement on social distancing requirements at park aquatics centers

the sign in front of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners buildingPhoto: Cobb County Courier/Larry Felton Johnson

The county issued the following statement concerning social distancing requirements at aquatics centers and other Cobb County facilities:

January 10, 2022 – Members of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, as well as the county’s PARKS Director, has received a large number of emails concerning recent public health guidelines currently in place in all Cobb County government facilities, including aquatic centers.
    
Cobb County schools rent county government aquatic centers to hold practices and swim meets.  As such the use of the Mountain View Aquatic Center and the Central Aquatic Center are in high demand.
 
Shortly after Chairwoman Lisa Cupid signed a Declaration of Emergency in December due largely to rapidly rising COVID numbers, the County Manager reinstituted a mask and social distancing policy that affects all county facilities.  Department Managers were instructed to look at all venues that host large crowds and adjust capacity levels appropriately.  This has resulted in changes across the county impacting group rentals, youth basketball events, as well as county events in theatres, art centers, libraries, and senior services buildings.
 
Chairwoman Cupid said she understands these changes will impact how many people will be able to attend events held at county government facilities. 
  
“As the mother of student-athletes, I understand the frustration from not being able to watch your children compete,” she said.  “However, public health leaders have impressed upon me now is not the time to have large groups gathering together in confined spaces during this record COVID surge.  Our local hospitals are nearing a breaking point, and our staff has been severely impacted due to rising cases in the county.”
 
The county’s PARKS Director has been in contact with Cobb school athletic directors who assured him they will be able to continue holding swim meets with the social distancing requirements in place.  Similar requirements were put in place during the initial COVID surge in 2020 to address the health and safety concerns of our residents.
 
“This is a difficult time for everyone,” said County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris. “We appreciate Cobb schools’  ongoing cooperation to keep these events going safely to protect both participants and our employees.  In these challenging times, proper social distancing and reducing the number of people inside confined facilities at these events will enable us to keep the facilities’ doors open.”

Background

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 in Cobb County, Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid reinstated the county’s Declaration of Emergency on December 22, 2021. It includes a mask mandate at all county facilities under the control of the Board of Commissioners.

The county issued the following news release at the time of the reinstatement:

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Marietta, GA | December 22, 2021 – Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid has signed a new Declaration of Emergency for the county after consulting with public health officials about the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases.  The declaration will enable the county to implement its Emergency Operations Plan, hold all or portions of public meetings virtually, and encourage residents to take precautions to avoid further spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.


“Public Health officials warn me this variant is spreading at an alarming rate,” Chairwoman Cupid said.  “The stress on our hospitals is increasing, and both public and private COVID testing facilities are overwhelmed.  Even though this is just prior to Christmas, I wanted to act quickly to help slow the spread of this new variant in our community.”


The declaration urges residents to help slow the spread by taking these actions: getting vaccinated and/or boosted, wearing masks indoors with others, and avoiding crowded situations.


At the same time, County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris will again require the wearing of masks inside county government facilities.  This reinstitutes a policy that lapsed in November.

“Much like the community, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases within the Cobb government family,” said Dr. McMorris.  “Requiring the wearing of masks and increasing social distancing in our facilities will hopefully help protect both our employees and the residents that they serve.”


The policy will require masks to be worn while inside Cobb government buildings including libraries, indoor parks facilities, and senior centers.  This policy does NOT affect:

  • Privately-run businesses in the county,
  • The Cobb County School District which is governed by the Board of Education, and;
  • The Cobb County court complex, which has been under its own mask mandate by judicial order.
  • ​Chairwoman Cupid had initially signed a Declaration of Emergency over the spread of COVID-19 in Cobb County in August and signed two extensions that kept the declaration in place until mid-November.  This current declaration will run through January 22​, 2022.
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