City pushing forward with phased re-opening of government services

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. spoke Friday after Gov. Brian Kemp let the shelter-in-place order expire for some Georgia residents. (Source: WRDW)
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Friday, May 15, 2020

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Mayor Hardie Davis says the city of Augusta is in phase one of re-opening as businesses around the city open back up their doors.

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City offices began to re-open on Tuesday, May 12 with 25 percent of the city workforce returning. The second phase of re-opening begins on May 18, and the third comes June 1. Davis stressed, however, that the plan was fluid and may change.

But one of the big sticking points for Davis was requiring city residents to wear masks if they come to any city government building.

"The Commission has worked very hard to try to take action, and that executive order that will be signed today, it says, everyone comes into the municipal building will in fact have on a mask that includes the employees, everyone," Davis said.

Contact tracing is also the next battlefield in the COVID-19 fight. Richmond County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Stephen Goggans is expecting more staff soon to help with that.

"We don't know our final allocation of staff, yet, but we anticipate a cadre of staff starting next week to join with our team that's already working on contact tracing," Goggans said.

But Goggans continued to stress the need for social distancing efforts even as the state's economy re-opens.

"That's what's gonna keep the number of cases flat, which is what we need to do for now," Goggans said.

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