Rome leaders are expected to extend the public health emergency declaration ordering residents to shelter in place, with perhaps more restrictions, as the nation and the world continue to attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
City Manager Sammy Rich said he will make a recommendation at a called meeting of the City Commission on Monday to revise the order to keep it in place at least through April 30.
The move would put the city’s ordinance in line with President Donald Trump’s call for the nation to extend social distancing practices through the end of the month as more dire projections for the pandemic have been made by public health experts.
Gov. Brian Kemp is slated to sign a statewide shelter-in-place order Thursday that could affect the city’s provisions.
Monday’s City Commission meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. It will be a “virtual meeting” through Zoom web conferencing and available on Facebook Live.
Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said he expects the county to follow suit but a called meeting of the county commissioners had not been set as of Wednesday. Both the city and county’s orders are scheduled to expire April 7 at 11:59 p.m.
Rich said they are also looking at possible tweaks of the order to make it clearer in some places and to provide guidance for local businesses to more strictly adhere with social distancing practices.
“It will be more of a clarification of the order itself,” Rich said. “We’ve had a lot of questions about social distancing in businesses, so we want to find a way to help businesses that are open monitor customers.”
The order advises residents to shelter in place within their homes unless for essential activities, government functions or to operate essential businesses.
The original order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and limits restaurants to takeout and delivery only.
The majority of questions after a week and a half of the order being in effect still have been about what businesses are deemed essential, according to Rich.
“Overall, I still think we’ve had a good, positive response to it,” Rich said. “I feel we’ve done as good of a job as we can to limit the exposure to the virus.”