The city of Dalton and Whitfield County have recently mandated that almost all adults entering city and county buildings must wear masks to combat the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Officials from other local governments say they are monitoring the spread of the disease locally to determine if they need to take action on the buildings they control.
"All county buildings that house courts have requirements in place for all occupants to wear masks," said Murray County Sole Commissioner Greg Hogan.
Under an emergency order by Supreme Court of Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton that is in force until Aug. 11, all employees and visitors to all courts in the state must wear masks.
"We encourage all visitors and employees to wear them, but it's not a requirement currently," said Hogan. "I am closely monitoring guidelines and recommendations to determine if further precautions should be implemented."
Chatsworth Mayor K.W. Gong said that city is not currently requiring masks except for city court.
"In Murray County, we've only had about 300 that have tested positive and two deaths," Gong said. "We haven't had the sort of outbreak that some other counties have had."
But Gong, who said he wears a mask when he is in public, said City Council members are monitoring the situation and could take further action if they think it is warranted.
"We require masks for city court and for City Council meetings," said Cohutta Mayor Ron Shinnick. "We also practice social distancing, only allowing a certain number of people in at a time."
Shinnick said Town Hall is the only city building that is open to the public.
"The town clerk comes in three days a week, and she's usually the only person there," he said.
Shinnick said he always wears a mask in public.
Eton Mayor Billy Cantrell said that city does not currently require masks in City Hall.
"Our employees are behind plexiglass and don't come into contact with anyone who comes in," he said. "Our employees keep social distance, and we stagger their times at work. "
Cantrell said social distance is maintained at City Council meetings.
"We usually don't have anyone there except for council members and department managers," he said.
Cantrell said council members review the coronavirus situation weekly and could take further action if they believe it is necessary.
Tunnel Hill City Manager Blake Griffin said the City Hall there is the only city building open to the public. The city does not require masks but employees practice social distancing.
Griffin said the City Council is not looking at requiring masks but could if members believe it is needed.
"We require masks for court and for City Council meetings," said Varnell Mayor Tom Dickson. "But not for someone just coming into City Hall on some sort of business."
He said City Hall is the only city building open to the public and employees there practice social distancing.
Dickson said council members might discuss requiring masks in city buildings at their next meeting. That is currently scheduled for Tuesday. But Dickson said there is a possibility the meeting could be moved to Tuesday, July 28.