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What you need to know about mask rule in Augusta facilities

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 2:12 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - On Tuesday, the Augusta Commission approved a resolution requiring masks or face coverings be worn in all Augusta public facilities.

As part of the requirement, all people entering or working in any city of Augusta facilities over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask. Individuals who do not have a face covering or mask will be provided with one.

This stipulation does not apply to judicial facilities, which are under the authority of the chief Superior Court judge, or concerts at the James Brown Arena, Bell Auditorium and other entertainment facilities and activities.

Enforcement will start Monday.

To help residents understand, the city created this list of questions and answers:

Q: When will the new mandate take effect?

The mandate is effective immediately, although enforcement will take effect on the Monday following Commission approval and will remain in effect until modified or rescinded by the Augusta Commission.

Q: Where and when do I need to wear a mask or face covering?

Masks or face coverings will be required by staff and visitors over the age of 2 at all Augusta facilities that are open to the public during business hours. This does not apply to private businesses or non-Augusta facilities. The mask requirements include, but are not limited to the municipal building, parks and recreation facilities and Augusta Utilities’ customer service divisions.

Q: What regulations does this order mandate?

Masks or facial coverings are now required in all indoor spaces of city of Augusta public facilities. These spaces include public facilities operated by the consolidated government. The exceptions to this requirement are judicial facilities, exceptions noted and specifically recommended by the CDC, minors below the age of 5 and people who have disabilities where masks constitute a substantial impairment to their health and well-being based upon medical, behavioral or legal direction.

Q: Where can I find information about COVID-19 vaccinations in Augusta?

All residents of Augusta have access to authorized COVID-19 vaccines, which are considered safe, effective, and have been shown to dramatically reduce transmission and the risk of hospitalization and/or death. For more information or to make an appointment, go to https://www.augustaga.gov/2785/COVID-19-Updates.

Q: Why is the city reinstating the requirement that masks or facial coverings to be worn? How long will the mask order be in effect for?

With the emergence of the delta variant, consistently high levels of both COVID-19 cases in the region and hospitalizations the use of masks is an effort to mitigate the negative impacts of the virus on municipal operations.

Q: When will this order be updated?

Augusta leaders will continue to monitor health indicators to evaluate when to modify these restrictions. The city does not have a specific timeframe for when the mandate may be lifted or modified, as that decision will be made based on data, the guidance of public health professionals, and ultimately an action of the Augusta Commission.

Q: I have a question that isn’t covered by this FAQ. How can I get an answer?

City leaders encourage everyone to review the latest information at https://www.augustaga.gov/2785/COVID-19-Updates. If that does not resolve your question, call 311.

Q: What metrics will the city use in determining when to update or rescind this mandate?

The city says it’s continuously monitoring data related to COVID-19. It is projected that the need for mask requirements will be evaluated monthly. Recommendations will revolve around the need for a consistent downtrend in whether the community transmission levels, hospitalizations, and other key factors are downgraded.

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