Lowndes County, South Georgia cities issue emergency management order in response to COVID-19

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
March 24, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Lowndes County, along with the cities of Valdosta, Remerton, Hahira, Lake Park and Dasher have issued a Local Emergency Management Purpose Order that prohibits on-premises dining at restaurants, prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people and closes fitness centers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Georgia authorities say, as part of the order, residents are encouraged to adhere to a voluntary stay at home measure, unless they are participating in outdoor exercise activities, traveling to or from work or visiting an essential business (grocery store, bank, hospital or daycare).

The order also says no worship services should be held if they are attended by more than 10 people. Authorities say faith-based organizations are encouraged to live stream their services or use remote service options.

Officials say the order goes into effect at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 and will last until 12 p.m. on Monday, April 6.

“We need our residents to recognize and adhere to this voluntary order to shelter in place. Please stay at home – except for certain essential activities,” said Mayor Scott James Matheson. “As a community, we have an opportunity to take actions that have a known effect to slow transmission of the COVID-19 virus and reduce infections. These orders in the local declaration were crafted with great care and great thought. When this is over, we want to be able to we look back and not question whether we did enough.”

“Officials are sensitive to the impact this order will have on Valdosta-Lowndes County with regards to our local economy. Citizens are encouraged now, more than ever, to find ways to support each other as we move through the response of COVID-19 together. Please continue to pray for our healthcare community, first responders, volunteers and others, that must remain on the frontline of this event,” said County Commission Chairman, Bill Slaughter. “While together we are better - each of you, individually, will determine the success of this action through your willingness to respect social distancing.”

To view the full order, click here.