Mayor & Commission Approve Second Declaration of Local Emergency to Help Stop Spread of Coronavirus

Mar 20, 2020

The Athens-Clarke mayor and commission unanimously approved an ordinance with a second declaration of a local state of emergency at their Special Called Session on Thursday, March 19.


Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The ordinance is designed to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, in order to slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to the maximum extent possible. In order to achieve these goals, the ordinance includes a number of provisions for residents and businesses, including:

  • requiring residents to shelter-in-place 24/7 aside from essential activities, essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses (as defined in the ordinance);
  • requiring all businesses, except essential businesses, to cease all activities except minimum basic operations (as defined in the ordinance);
  • prohibiting all public and private gatherings outside of a household or living unit except for limited purposes;
  • prohibiting travel except essential travel and essential activities (as defined in the ordinance);
  • requiring "social distancing" to the maximum extent possible when outdoors or using shared spaces, which includes maintaining a six-foot distance from others, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands;
  • allowing for temporary hand-washing stations to be placed throughout Athens-Clarke County; and
  • providing up to $3 million in funding from the Prosperity Package and pursuing other sources for providing emergency assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For full details, including definitions and exceptions, read the final approved ordinance.

More details, including an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, are currently being developed. Information and links to more information will be available at and in other outlets.