JOHNS CREEK, Ga. —During a special called meeting on Jan. 4, the Johns Creek City Council unanimously voted to extend the emergency ordinance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency ordinance, first adopted last March, provides for the operation of essential services and allows for votes and meetings of the City Council by teleconference.
The original ordinance was valid for 30 days and has been extended each month since.
“My expectation, given the trending of the COVID numbers until the vaccine and other things have had a chance to really take hold, we're gonna see the numbers continue to climb, especially with all the travel that probably occurred during the holiday season,” Mayor Mike Bodker said. “And with that, there is a need to extend our emergency ordinance.”
The ordinance is designed to preserve the city’s ability to maintain its commitment to safety and service. City officials stated in March that the authority granted in the ordinance would be used only as necessary to slow the spread of the virus and to avoid overwhelming city services and the local healthcare system.
During the Jan. 4 meeting, Councilman Lenny Zaprowski asked the mayor and council to confirm the city’s “stance” on mask requirements after he had received a call from a resident who said they had been asked by a city official to wear a mask.
Bodker explained that the city requires masks to be worn in city facilities, something owned and controlled by the City of Johns Creek. Outside of that, the city has encouraged residents to wear a mask when indoors or around those who may be at risk, to practice social distancing whenever possible, to frequently wash their hands and clean surfaces and to follow all the CDC guidelines. He said that while most businesses are requiring masks, it is up to the individual business.
“If a business is not following what people believe are the state's requirements — because it's the state that mandates all of the rest of the requirements — then they can call the governor's office or the Health and Human Services at the state who's in the enforcement position for that,” Bodker said. “We, the city are not, and probably did not, ask someone to wear masks going into a private business.”
The emergency ordinance extension became valid on Jan. 8, 2021, and will require either an extension or repeal after 30 days.