AN ORDINANCE REQUIRING THE USE OF MASKS OR
FACE COVERINGS INSIDE PUBLICLY OWNED BUILDINGS DUE TO THE COVID 19 OUTBREAK
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic as of March 11, 2020;
WHEREAS, a significant number of Georgia residents are at risk of serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19;
WHEREAS, a large numberof persons with serious infections can compromise the ability of the healthcare system to deliver necessary care to the public;
WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, transmitted through person-to-person contact or by contactwith surfaces contaminated with the virus and personsinfected with COVID- 19 may become symptomatic two to fourteen days after exposure;
WHEREAS, asymptomatic (including presymptomatic) infected persons are known to be infectious and, withoutmitigation many infections occur from individuals without symptoms;
WHEREAS, respiratory droplets, including aerosols, from infected persons are a major mode of COVID-19 transmission. This understanding is the basis of the recommendations for physical distancing, and of the personal protective equipment guidance for healthcare workers. Droplets do not only come from coughing or sneezing; droplets are also generated via talking and breathing;
WHEREAS, evidence indicates that the use of face coverings reduces the transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected droplets in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public face covering wearing is most effective at stopping the spread of the virus when compliance is high. This evidence supports the conclusion that the adoption of more widespread face covering requirements can help to control the COVID-19 epidemic by reducing the shedding of droplets into the environment from asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals;
WHEREAS, the following actions related to requiring facial coverings in public are necessary and appropriate to balance the public’s interest in not being unduly burdened with the compelling public interest of providing for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City of Winterville;
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidance continuing to recommend mask wearing in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status in areas with a high community level (and in a medium community level when around those who are at high risk for severe disease) to maximize protection from COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the goal of this Ordinance is to increase the usage of facial coverings and masks and not revenue generation;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED that for the protection of members of the public, facial coverings or masks shall be required within the publicly owned buildings within the City of Winterville to slow the spread of COVID-19 as follows:
(a) The provisions of Section 1 of this Ordinance shall only be enforced when the COVID-19 Community Level in Athens-Clarke County is “high” according to the CDC.
(b) For purposes of this Ordinance, the following terms are hereby defined as follows:
(1) Facial covering or mask means a device to cover the nose and mouth of a person and impedes the spread of saliva, respiratory droplets, or other fluids during speaking, coughing, sneezing or other intentional or involuntary action. Medical grade masks are
not required; coverings may be fashioned as advised by the CDC and from other suitable fabrics. The mask must cover the mouth and nose of the wearer.
(2) Public place means any enclosed structure located on real property owned or operated by the City of Winterville.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in this Ordinance, all persons located in the interior of a public place shall wear a facial covering or mask over the mouth and nose at all times where other physical distancing measure may be difficult to maintain from noncohabitating person.
(d) Facial coverings or masks are not required inside a public place in the following circumstances:
(1) When the individual has a bona fide religious objection to wearing a facial covering or mask;
(2) While drinking or eating;
(3) When a licensed healthcare provider has determined that wearing a facial covering or mask causes or aggravates a health condition for the individual or when such person has a bona fide medical reason for not wearing a facial covering or mask;
(4) When wearing a facial covering or mask would prevent the receipt of personal services or performing work in the course of employment;
(5) When complying with the directions of a law enforcement officer or for the purposes of verifying a person’s identity, such as when purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs or when engaging in a financial transaction;
(6) When the individual is having difficulty donning or removing a face mask or face covering without assistance;
(7) At any polling place and no individual shall be denied ingress or egress to or from a polling place for failure to wear a facial covering or mask; and
(8) When outdoors and maintaining social distancing from anyone other than individuals with whom they cohabitate.
(e) Violations of this Section 1 may be enforced by a notice of ordinance violation issued by any police officer, code enforcement officer, or other authorized law enforcement official, as provided below:
(1) A person who fails to comply with paragraph (b) of Section 1 of this Ordinance shall be first given a warning and an opportunity to put on a facial covering or mask, leave the interior of the public place, or comply with one of the exceptions in paragraph (c) of Section 1.
(2) If the person violating this Ordinance refuses or fails to comply with this Ordinance after being given a warning pursuant to subparagraph (1) of this paragraph then such person may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25.00 on the first offense and not more than $50.00 on the second and any subsequent offenses.
(3) A notice of violation may be served by delivery into the hands of the suspected violator or by other reasonable process for serving notice of ordinance violations used by the City of Winterville
(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing, every effort shall be made to bring an individual into voluntary compliance with the terms of this Ordinance prior to issuance of any notice of violation, including providing complimentary masks, explaining the importance of wearing facial coverings during this pandemic, and issuing verbal and written warnings.
(f) In all locations where facial coverings or masks are not required to be worn pursuant to this Ordinance, they are strongly encouraged to be worn.
This Ordinance shall be effective immediately and shall remain in effect until revised or repealed by further action of the Mayor and City Council.
Should any provision, paragraph, sentence, or word of this Ordinance be rendered or declared invalid by any final court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions, paragraphs, sentences, or words of this Ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.
Should any ordinance or part thereof be found to conflict with this ordinance or the provisions thereof, then those sections contained herein shall be deemed controlling.
SO ORDAINED, this 9th day of August 2022.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL
CITY OF WINTERVILLE, GEORGIA