Monday, March 23, 2020
Columbia County Chairman Doug Duncan defended the county's weekend decision to not force businesses to close due to the spread of coronavirus. (Source: WRDW)
COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Coming off a weekend where Columbia County Commission was criticized for not taking stronger actions in the county to stem the tide of the coronavirus, commission held a news conference Monday morning to defend their actions and talk up new rules they're implementing.
Chairman Doug Duncan said that now was not the time for "feel-good facade" actions despite the fact that he acknowledged the county was in "uncharted and dangerous waters."
Still, Duncan said that priority one for commission was the safety and health of county residents.
“Frankly the easy thing for us to do as a governing body is to take political action and make false promises to our citizens that we may not be able to legally enforce," Duncan said. "Instead, we've chosen to do the responsible thing and work with the people of Columbia County during this crisis.”
Duncan outlined several actions commission has taken to ensure that.
First off, Duncan said the county is partnering with MedNow to offer on-site testing in Columbia County.
Columbia County's code enforcement team is also being empowered with commissioners saying they'll be using the team to enforce CDC guidelines.
Those guidelines include social distancing of at least six feet and not gathering in groups of 10 or more.
Officials say the code team will be going around to businesses in the county to see if they are following those guidelines. If they are not, commissioners say, those businesses will receive a citation and run the risk of losing their licenses.
Commissioners say many businesses within the county are already following the guidelines or going above and beyond through offering curbside or delivery services.
“It’s important to give private business the opportunity to do right," Duncan said.
And businesses, like Seigler's Karate Center, are agreeing to do the best for the public and the kids.
"We've had some in-person semi-private classes we were doing, but we just made the decision now that we were going to do all of our exams that we were going to do for our 600-plus students and all classes virutal for the next couple of weeks," the business said.
The city of August has already moved to close all non-essential businesses on Saturday.
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