A local emergency order signed by Gwinnett County’s Board of Commissioners chair will require face masks or coverings to be worn in all facilities owned or leased by the county beginning Monday, Jan. 10.
The county cited the more than 18,566 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to the Georgia Department of Health from Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 5 to 6, in announcing the order, which is effective through Wednesday, Jan. 26, at which time the order may be reevaluated.
“As an employer, Gwinnett County has experienced a significant amount of employee absenteeism due to the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” said Nicole Hendrickson, chairwoman of the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners. “Because we want to be proactive and keep essential services running without interruption to our residents, business owners, and customers, we will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health and take measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 for the safety of those who visit our facilities and work in them as well.”
Exceptions to the new requirement will be made for individuals who have difficulty putting on or removing a face mask without help, those who have a legitimate religious reason for not wearing a face covering and those who have a legitimate medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
“It’s imperative that we do everything in our power to keep our employees healthy,” said County Administrator Glenn Stephens, who announced that Gwinnett County Government’s internal policy would be updated to include a mask requirement for employees. “They are the people who keep the water flowing, respond to emergencies, ensure our roads are safe and provide other services essential to our community.”
The order does not apply to privately owned businesses, Gwinnett court facilities, the Gwinnett County Board of Education or city governments.