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Posted on: August 19, 2020

County passes mask ordinance

Image of Newton County Passes Mask ordinance

The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution requiring masks in public areas in the unincorporated Newton County Tuesday evening. Masks are also required to enter Newton County government buildings. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided.

Read the Full Ordinance 

The ordinance follows Gov. Brian Kemp’s Executive Order from Aug. 15, 2020, permitting any local government to impose local option face covering requirements, for counties that meet the threshold requirement of more than 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. As of Aug. 17, 2020 Newton County had 1,813.91 cases per 100,000 people, per the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Effective at midnight to begin the day, Thursday, Aug. 20, the ordinance requires anyone over the age of 8-years to wear a face covering or mask in a public place in the unincorporated Newton County.  Schools, daycares and other child care establishments should develop their own face-covering policies and procedures separate from this ordinance.

Exemptions to Newton County’s face covering ordinance include:

  • When Social Distancing is both possible and being actively practiced;
  • In personal vehicles;
  • On residential property;
  • On private property where the owner or legal occupant of the property does not consent to enforcement of this Ordinance (there shall be a presumption of consent to enforcement unless the owner/occupant affirmatively indicates otherwise);
  • If a medical provider has advised against the use of a face covering due to an underlying medical issue or because wearing such covering presents a health, safety, or security risk;
  • To the extent removal of the covering is necessary to receive personal services (e.g. haircuts or makeup);
  • To the extent removal of a covering is necessary to treat or examine a person subject to the direction of a medical professional;
  • When consuming food or beverages; however, a face covering shall be required when interacting with others who are not at an individual’s immediate table (i.e. fellow patrons, servers, staff, etc.);
  • To the extent temporary removal of the face cloth is necessary for the purposes of verifying a person’s identity for the purposes of law enforcement, purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs;
  • If a person is employed and working in their capacity as a governmental professional (i.e. public safety, fire, sanitation), or medical professional and is wearing more protective equipment or is otherwise prohibited from utilizing a face covering by the policy of their employer;
  • If an employer consults with an occupational safety and health professional who determines in writing that face coverings are not appropriate for employees, because of heat or other health related or safety concerns;
  • If wearing a mask poses a greater mental or physical health safety or security risk such as when a person has trouble breathing, is unconscious, is incapacitated, or is unable to remove or put on the face covering without assistance;
  • If an individual has a bona fide conscientious objection to the wearing of a face covering based upon health, ethical, or religious reasons; or
  • At any Polling Place, as defined under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-2(27), and no individual shall be denied ingress or egress to or from a Polling Place for failure to wear a face covering or face mask.

Anyone who violates the ordinance shall be given a written warning on first violation, and will be subject to a fine up to $50 dollars on the second. No violation of the ordinance is punishable by imprisonment.

The ordinance will expire at 11:59 p.m. Oct. 31 or upon the expiration or nonrenewal of the Governor’s Executive Order.

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