Sandy Springs city leaders “insist” that residents voluntarily shelter in place and that non-essential businesses shut down, or the coronavirus pandemic restrictions may become mandatory, said Mayor Rusty Paul in a March 24 statement.

The city government in recent days has taken some emergency shutdown steps, including limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery; shuttering bars and gyms; and closing city facilities and parks. It has been less restrictive than Atlanta and Brookhaven, which recently issued formal shelter-in-place and broad business closure orders, among other provisions. Gov. Brian Kemp on March 23 issued new emergency orders requiring some people at risk of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease to stay at home, shuttering bars and nightclubs statewide, and prohibiting some gatherings of 10 or more people.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul.

In his statement, Paul noted the projections of a worsening pandemic and called for more restrictions to “essential” business and activity, without defining the term.

The key part of his statement reads as follows:

“Therefore, Mayor and City Council insist that all citizens and businesses in the City do the following:

“1. Individuals must take all possible and practical steps to shelter at their places of residence, 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;

“2. Businesses must cease non-essential operations at physical locations within the city and augment their work-from-home and telecommuting strategies whenever possible;

“3. Businesses providing essential services must enforce CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] social distancing requirements among all patrons and staff within their facilities and frequently sanitize counters, credit/debit machines, carts and other items used by the public or face closure under Gov. Kemp’s executive order mandating social distancing;

“4. Non-essential gatherings of groups of individuals outside a single household unit must cease;

“5. Individuals must follow the CDC and other public health authority guidelines, as stated in the emergency declaration.

“Failure to comply with these directives may lead to more restrictive action by Council in the future.”

The stability of the local economy has been a major concern of the city, which has promoted the struggling restaurants that remain open with takeout and delivery. In his statement, Paul called on residents to continue supporting local businesses.

“Equally as important as limiting the spread of the disease is our commitment to protect our local economy during this uncertain time,” Paul said. “All of our local businesses need our support now more than ever, particularly our locally owned small businesses. Please continue to patronize our local shops and restaurants through carryout or delivery orders or the purchase of gift cards for future use when social distancing is no longer needed.”

Avatar photo

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.