The city of Dalton strongly encourages all residents to heed the guidance of public health officials and the state of Georgia by wearing a face mask when in public places to help to slow or prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Because local governments are prohibited by Gov. Kemp’s executive orders from enforcing any ordinance or rule regarding the pandemic, the city is not considering enacting an ordinance ordering the use of face masks throughout Dalton.
City leaders have mandated that members of the public will be required to wear masks to enter any city building. The requirement for masks in city buildings will go into effect on Monday.
"The city’s opinion is that it has the right to set safety rules on the premises of city-owned buildings to protect the health and safety of city employees and visitors, much as any other business can," a city spokesman said.
City employees will be also be required to wear face masks in city buildings when interacting with the public and also when they are unable to maintain social distance from each other while working.
Wearing a mask when in public (except for when eating, drinking or exercising) has been encouraged for all Georgians by Kemp in his executive orders in response to the pandemic. The use of masks, along with practicing social distancing of at least 6 feet between people, avoiding large crowds and frequently washing hands has been shown to mitigate the spread of the disease.
Some governments in Georgia have enacted local rules mandating the use of face masks. However, Executive Order 04.02.20.01 suspended the authority of counties and cities to enforce any local ordinances adopted in response to the pandemic that differ from the state’s orders. That order, which has been extended several times and remains in effect through at least Aug. 11, also directs counties and municipalities to not enact further orders regarding the pandemic.
The city of Dalton is monitoring events in the region, and city leaders have noted that neighboring Hamilton County in Tennessee has enacted an order mandating face mask use. Unlike in Georgia, the governor’s office of Tennessee granted 89 counties, including Hamilton, the right to enact local orders regarding the pandemic based on the local situation. The city of Dalton does not currently have that authority from the state of Georgia.