CONYERS – The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance requiring the wearing of face coverings or masks while in public places at its Aug. 11 meeting. Exemptions from wearing masks include when outside or in a private vehicle.

The ordinance was presented to the BOC for the first reading, with the second reading being waived and the ordinance adopted at Tuesday’s meeting. The ordinance replaces an earlier resolution’s suggestion of wearing face coverings and masks to an offense that can be enforced by general penalty.

According to a county news release, the ordinance was drafted in accordance with the executive order issued by Gov. Brian Kemp as stated in Code Section 38-3-51 that “all residents and visitors of the State of Georgia are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable while outside their homes or place of residence, except when eating, drinking or exercising outdoors.”

According to the county, hese measures have been taken to protect the safety of the community during a time where COVID-19 is still very active within the county and throughout the country. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised it is possible that those who are infected with COVID-19 to show no symptoms and spread the virus to other individuals as well as individuals being contagious prior to the onset of symptoms.

Requirement to wear face covering or mask encompasses the following:

♦ All persons present in Rockdale County, who are over the age of 8 years old are required to wear a face covering or mask which covers the nose and mouth when in any public place.

♦ No employer shall prohibit an employee from wearing a face covering, except to the limited extent that doing so would prevent the employee from performing an essential job function that cannot be performed while wearing a face covering.

♦ This shall not be construed to prohibit the use of medical or industrial face coverings, shields or other forms of personal protective equipment which offer more protection.

Exemptions to wearing a face covering or mask include:

♦ While outdoors, provided individuals maintain a minimum 6-foot radius from others not part of their immediate family.

♦ In personal vehicles.

♦ 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.

♦ 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.).

♦ 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 the face covering without assistance.

To see more exemptions or for more information, visit rockdalecountyga.gov or the following link: https://rockdalecountyga.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/mask-ordinance.pdf.

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Senior Reporter

I've worked in community newspapers for 30 years, including Editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus from 1993-1999. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016. Started as Senior Reporter at the Jackson Progress-Argus in December 2019.

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