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What local governments are doing to limit business in effort to protect public health
COVID-19 test
This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC's laboratory test kit for the coronavirus. - photo by Associated Press

Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday ordered closures of bars and nightclubs statewide beginning at noon Tuesday as part of the state’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings of more than 10 people, unless the people can be kept six feet apart, are also be banned.

The ban will be in effect through April 6.

The Georgia Department of Public Health will be authorized to close any business for noncompliance.

Local governments can put additional restrictions in place, but the statewide ban applies to all.

Kemp has favored letting local governments decide whether to require stricter limitations. His statewide actions fall short of those issued in most other states, despite pressure from some lawmakers and health experts for tougher measures.

The Georgia Municipal Association is advising all of the state's 538 cities to order overnight curfews and close gyms, movie theaters and other businesses.

Under state law, local governments "can make, amend, and rescind orders, rules, and regulations as necessary for emergency management purposes," according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia's guidelines for counties.


To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Gainesville City Council passed a resolution Monday restricting restaurants and bars to takeout service only and closing fitness centers, movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades in city limits.

Gainesville was the first city in Hall County to pass restrictions on businesses during the pandemic. The rules go into effect at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 24. 

Cafeterias in hospitals and nursing homes are exempt from the rule.

The Council also declared a state of emergency in Gainesville with the resolution passed Monday.

Hall County

The Hall County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted at a 4 p.m. meeting Tuesday to require restaurants and bars in unincorporated Hall to close their dining rooms and bans patio dining. Takeout, delivery and drive-thru service will be allowed for restaurants, and beer and wine can be sold with takeout meals. 

The rules go into effect at 3 p.m. Wednesday and will be in effect for 72 hours, which is the length of time permitted under county code. That time frame can be extended concurrently in 72-hour periods by order of the chairman. 

Cafeterias in hospitals and nursing homes are exempt.

Purchases of supplies to address the virus will also be exempt from the county's purchasing policies.


Beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 26, bars and restaurants are required to close their dining rooms. Takeout and delivery is allowed. Beer and wine can be sold with takeout meals. Fitness centers, gyms and studios are also required to close. Movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades are required to close.

Cafeterias in nursing homes and hospitals are exempt.

Eight of Oakwood’s 43 restaurants typically allow dine-in seating for patrons, White said.

Flowery Branch

Flowery Branch City Council voted via a Tuesday online meeting to close in-house dining at restaurants and allow restaurants with a valid license to sell beer and wine as takeout or delivery.


Effective March 26, restaurants are required to close their dining rooms. Takeout, delivery and drive-thru service are allowed. Outdoor patio service is only allowed if people stay six feet apart. Gyms, fitness centers and studios, movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades and entertainment centers, hair salons and nail salons and other similar establishments are required to close. Public gatherings on property owned by the town, including the Town Green, are canceled until further notice.


While officials are encouraging people to follow public health guidelines, the city has not placed restrictions on businesses.


All recreation, gym, fitness, and entertainment facilities are required to close.

Restaurants and other eating establishments must close their dining rooms, but delivery, drive-thru, and curb-side pickup are allowed.

Forsyth County

Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Chairman Laura Semanson has signed a declaration of local emergency, which calls for the county to use its available resources to fight the spread of the virus. Forsyth County has not issued restrictions on businesses. Residents are asked to avoid "non-mandatory assemblies or gatherings of 10 or more individuals."

Gwinnett County

A state of emergency has been declared. Gyms, fitness centers, fitness studios, theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades are required to close. Eating establishments have to close their dining rooms. Cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities are exempt.

Gainesville coronavirus resolution
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