All bars and restaurants in Floyd County are closed for inside eating, drinking and entertainment, under an order issued Thursday night to take effect immediately.
Public parks also are off-limits for large gatherings.
The order follows the declaration of a public health state of emergency by the Floyd County and Rome City commissions and the Cave Spring City Council.
At a joint virtual meeting via Zoom, the three boards adopted a resolution that all bars, restaurants or businesses that include dining will close all in-person dining and only allow pick up and delivery. No more than 10 customers at a time may be on the premises.
The elected officials enacted the joint order in response to a letter from a coalition of local medical leaders — the heads of Floyd Medical Center, Harbin Clinic, Redmond Regional Medical Center and the Northwest Georgia Department of Public Health.
The letter advised the government agencies to recognize the state of emergency to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and urged the temporary closure of restaurants, bars, movie theaters, museums, gyms and other recreation facilities.
Rome Mayor Bill Collins pointed out during the virtual meeting that many local restaurants have already closed as a precaution. The joint resolution also closes businesses that provide entertainment on premises.
The cities and county also suspended the use of public parks by more than 10 people in a group at a time. However, trails are exempted from this suspension.
The order only pertains to bars, restaurants and other places of social gathering where people dine in. Cafeterias at hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities are not subject to the restrictions.
County Manager Jamie McCord said that although they discussed setting a curfew, they have chosen not to do that at this time.
“We’re not having problems at night. We’re having problems during the day,” the county manager said.
The emergency declaration grants the government entities “the power to pass all laws and ordinances they may consider necessary for the peace, good order, health, prosperity, comfort and security of the city and the inhabitants thereof.”
The declaration also states that, under Georgia law, the governments may suspend certain laws, rules, ordinances and orders during the state of emergency.
The local ordinance will expire on March 31, unless the joint boards take action to extend it beyond that date.