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Posted on: March 26, 2020

What does Shelter in Place mean?

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The intent of Newton County’s Shelter in Place ordinance is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.

The ordinance allows for people to leave their residences only for essential activities, essential governmental functions or to operate essential businesses. Travel into or out of the county to perform essential activities, essential governmental functions or essential businesses is allowed.

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited except to engage in activities or perform tasks essential to health and safety, to obtain necessary services or supplies, to engage in outdoor activity as long as maintaining social distancing.

Social Distancing is defined as maintaining at least six-foot social distancing, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes, regularly cleaning high –touch surfaces and not shaking hands.

People may leave their homes for essential activities defined as:

  • To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members or partners or significant others (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
  • To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing requirements, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or bicycling.
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order, including Minimum Basic Operations.
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household.

People may leave their homes to obtain services at healthcare operations such as: hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, hospice providers, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. “Healthcare Operations” also includes veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.

People may leave their homes to provide any services or perform any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of essential infrastructure such as: public works construction, construction and all related activities (in particular affordable housing or housing for individuals experiencing homelessness), airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)

People may leave their homes to travel to an essential business defined as:

  • Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure;
  • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other nongrocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  • Gas stations, auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
  • Banks and related financial institutions;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses;
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Educational institutions—including private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
  • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
  • Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with support or supplies and all industrial manufacturers;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences;
  • Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • Residential facilities including hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  • Professional services, such as legal, accounting services, real estate services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or while supporting other Essential Businesses Unless otherwise preempted by state law, childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
  • Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
  • Children shall not change from one group to another.
  • If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
  • Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.
  • All businesses which possesses a Class A, retail liquor package license; Class B, retail beer package license; or a Class C, retail wine package license shall be authorized, but only via drive-thru or in parking lots or at curb.

All first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, court personnel and law enforcement personnel and others who need to perform essential services as determined by the Newton County Chairman are exempt from this order.

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