Municipal Place Orders Related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


On March 23, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp signed Executive Order (the “Executive Order”) dealing with COVID-19.  Stopping short of a total restriction on movement, the Executive Order requires self-isolation quarantine for the “medically fragile” segment of the Georgia citizenry, including those in long term care facilities, cancer patients, individuals with chronic lung disease, individuals testing positive for COVID-19, and those who have been exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19, among others defined in Georgia Department of Public Health Administrative Order

Governor Kemp’s Orders also closed all bars in the State (as that term is defined under O.C.G.A. 3-1-2(2.1).  The Executive Order further requires that no business of any type “shall allow more than ten (10) persons to gathered in a single location if such gathering requires persons to stand or be seated within six (6) feet of any other person.”

There are no further restrictions on business operations or a distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” businesses.

The State’s restrictions are in effect from Noon, March 24, 2020 until Noon, April 6, 2020.

The text of the Executive Order may be found at:


  1.           CITY OF ATLANTA

On March 23, 2020, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued Executive Order Number 2020-21 (the “Atlanta Order”), which directs that all individuals currently living within the territorial jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta are ordered to stay at their place of residence. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence.  All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses.  All businesses with a facility in the territorial jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta, except Essential Businesses, are required to cease all activities at facilities located therein except “Minimum Basic Operations” (see Athens Clarke-County below for definition of “Minimum Basic Operations”) but may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).

The Atlanta Order defines Essential Activities to include such activities as seeking medical care and grocery shopping.  Essential businesses are defined to include 21 separate categories of businesses, including professional services (such as legal or accounting), residential facilities, childcare centers and restaurants serving food for takeaway consumption.  In addition, Senior City staff members have confirmed to this Firm that the Order does NOT include construction as one of the non-essential businesses that must shut down.

The Atlanta Order went into effect at midnight on March 24, 2020, and will remain in effect for 14 days.

The text of the Atlanta Order may be found at:



On March 24, 2020, Mayor Patti Garrett of Decatur entered Public Health Emergency Order No. 2 (the “Decatur Order”) providing that all Decatur residents are to shelter in place and that “non-essential” businesses shall temporarily close and cease all activities.  For the purposes of the Decatur Order, individuals may leave their residences to provide work on “Essential Infrastructure”, including, but not limited to, public works, all construction related activities, airport operations, water, sewer, and gas services, etc.

The Decatur Order also exempts 21 categories of “Essential Businesses” from the shutdown, including grocery stores, banks, businesses or manufacturers that provide essential businesses with goods or services, and professional services (legal, accounting, and real estate when necessary to comply with legally mandated services).

The Decatur Order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 25, 2020 and expires on April 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

The text of the Decatur Order may be found at:



On March 24, 2020, Mayor Rusty Paul of Sandy Springs issued an Official Statement from Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul (the “Sandy Springs Statement”) requiring Sandy Springs residents to “take all possible and practical steps” to shelter in place, leaving only to receive “certain essential services, to obtain necessary provisions, or to engage in certain essential activities and work for essential business and government services.”  The Sandy Springs Statement further provides that “businesses providing essential services” must enforce CDC distancing guidelines.

Unfortunately, the Sandy Springs Statement does not further define any of its key terms such as “essential activities,” “essential businesses,” or exactly who qualifies as a “business providing essential services.”

Note: the Sandy Springs Letter appears to be open-ended in terms of duration – there is no express expiration date.

The text of the Sandy Springs Letter may be found at:



The Cobb County Board of Commissioners issued a Declaration of Emergency in Cobb County (the “Cobb Declaration”) on March 24, 2020.  The Cobb Declaration requires residents to shelter in place, but, it stops short of closing “non-essential businesses” in favor of restricting their hours of operation from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  All businesses and individuals must maintain social distancing of 6’ or more, and all dining and bar services are restricted to take out only.

Section 4 of the Cobb Declaration lists 32 categories of “Essential Businesses” such as utilities, essential infrastructure (tele communications, airports, transportation, etc.), manufacturing, construction, and providers of uniforms and supplies to maintain public health, safety and welfare, and any other service deemed to be “essential” by the County Manager.

The Cobb Declaration took effect upon entry on March 24, 2020 and extends through April 15, 2020.

The text of the Cobb Declaration may be found at:



The CEO of DeKalb County issued Executive Order No. 20-001 (the “DeKalb Order) declaring a state of emergency, banning public gatherings of 10 or more people, instituting a 10-person max capacity at certain businesses, and calling for a voluntary curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.  Some necessary outings that are exempted from the DeKalb Order include “trips to and from work, for medical treatment, food, medication or emergency.”  The order allows licensed restaurants, bars and breweries to “sell unopened beverages curbside or to take-out customers.” Indoor funerals will be limited to 10 people and graveside services of 10 or fewer people are “highly encouraged.”

The DeKalb Order specifically defines essential businesses that may remain open without restriction to include, among others, “[e]ssential [m]anufacturing and [c]onstruction to maintain public health, safety and welfare,” grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and any service that is deemmed by the Chirf Esecutive Officer to be essential for the protection of public health, saftey, and welfare.  Non-essential businesses are subject to heightened regulation including hours of operation and number of customers that may be present at one time.  Moreover, “[a]ll employers and businesses that remain open to the public must take steps to restrict in person contact and maintain a distance of six feet between individuals in the establishment.”

The DeKalb Order took effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, 2020 and remains in effect until further order.

The text of the Order may be found at



On March 19, 2020, the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (the “Unified Government”) issued An Ordinance For the Second Declaration of  a Local, State of Emergency Related to COVID-19; And for Other Purposes (the “Athens Order”) requiring that all individuals residing in the County shall shelter at their place of residence.  All “non-essential businesses” with a facility in the County were ordered to cease all business activities except “Minimum Basic Operations,” which the County defined as the minimum activity necessary to preserve the value of the business and to allow employees to telecommute.  See Order, Section 10(g).   Public gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited.

An appendix to the Athens Order provides specific guidance on what businesses are classified as “essential” and “non-essential.”  Included among over 50 categories of “essential businesses” that are NOT subject to the restrictions are: Airlines,  Banks, Churches, Construction Services, Insurance Companies, Professional Services (accounting, legal, medical, and real estate), healthcare, and Infrastructure/Public Works.

The Athens Order took effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 20, 2020 and runs through 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020.

The text of the Order and the corresponding appendix with the characterization of business categories may be found at:



On March 22, 2020, the City of Albany and the Dougherty County Commission entered the Joint Executive Order of the Mayor of the City of Albany and the Chairman of the Dougherty County Commission Related to COVID-19 (the “Albany Order”).  The text of the Albany Order is essentially identical to the Athens Order, requiring residents to shelter in place and restricting gatherings to 10 people or less.  The Albany Order similarly requires all “non-essential businesses” to cease operations other than “Minimum Basic Operations” (which term is defined identically to the Athens Order).  See Albany Order, Section 6(g).

“Essential Businesses” are defined in Section 6(c) of the Albany Order and include twenty two (22) broad categories of business, such as, among others:  Essential Infrastructure (construction and related activities, airport operations, water, gas, sewer, etc.), professional services (legal, medical, accounting, and real estate), and businesses providing food, shelter, and social services.

The Albany Order became effective at 6:00 p.m. on March 22, 2020 and lasts until 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020.

The Text of the Order, accompanying media release, and Albany Order FAQs may be found at:


  1. FLOYD COUNTY (Rome)

On March 24, 2020, the Floyd County Commission entered an Emergency Administrative Order (the “Floyd Order”).  The Rome Order is less restrictive than some other jurisdictions, although it does require residents to shelter in place and completely closes indoor recreation facilities, restaurants (other than take-out and delivery operations), and any business requiring physical contact with the public (such as hair salons).  Al other businesses may remain open subject to social distancing guidelines.

The Rome Order became effective at on March 24, 2020 and lasts until 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020.

The text of the Rome Order may be found at:


  1. CARROLL COUNTY (Carrollton)

On March 24, 2020, the Carroll County Board of Health issued An Additional Order to Supplement the March 22, 2020 Order of the Carroll County Board of Health Declaring a Local State of Emergency Related to COVID-19 (the “Carrollton Order”).  The Carrollton Order is virtually identical to the Order issued by Mayor Bottoms of Atlanta in terms of its requirements to shelter in place and the distinction of 21 categories of “Essential Businesses” that are exempt from shutting down.  Included in those “Essential Businesses” are construction and construction-related activities, professional services, healthcare, and infrastructure works.  Social distancing is required for all individuals engaging in essential business activities.

The Carrollton Order became effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 25, 2020 and expires at 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020.

The text of the Carrollton Order may be found at:—Shelter-in-Place-3-24-20


  1. GWINNETT COUNTY (Lawrenceville)

On March 25, 2020, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chair Charlotte J. Nash entered Local Emergency Order No. 1-2 (the “Gwinnett Order”).  The Gwinnett Order requires the closure of gyms, fitness studios, live performance venues, theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, and other similar establishments.  Restaurants, brewpubs, food courts, and other eating establishments must cease offering dine-in service but may continue to offer delivery or takeout service.  All other employers and businesses that remain open must take steps to minimize personal contact and maintain a distance of at least six feet between individuals in their establishments.  The Gwinnett Order adopts the requirements of Governor Kemp’s Executive Order, including directing citizens meeting the definition of immunologically fragile to shelter in place.  The Gwinnett Order does not direct any other citizens to stay home or shelter in place.

The Gwinnett Order became effective on March 25, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. and lasts until 12:00 p.m. on April 6, 2020.

The text of the Gwinnett Order may be found at:


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