Fulton County has issued an immediate stay-at-home order to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and threatened $1,000 fines and/or 12 months in jail for those who don’t obey.

The order, which continues until further notice, came during an April 1 Board of Commissioners Meeting and was issued by the county’s Interim District Health Director Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford.

“The order commands all county residents to stay at their place of residence; only allowing them to leave to provide, receive, or engage in essential services or activities,” a media statement said. “The order also permits those who work for essential businesses and perform essential governmental functions to leave their place of residence. The order will go into effect immediately.”

Essential activities and services include: activities related to your own health, that of a family member, or pet; care for the medically fragile; going to buy groceries and supplies; outdoor activity is permitted as long as people are six feet apart; essential government functions; and essential businesses. What is considered essential businesses are defined at this link.

The city of Atlanta, which is mostly inside Fulton County, already has its own stay-at-home order issued by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The city of Sandy Springs had limited orders restricting some businesses and “insisting” on voluntary observance of an unofficial shelter-in-place policy.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.