DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. — DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond on Thursday issued a "Path Forward" 30-day transition plan to reopening economic activity that asks businesses to go above and beyond what's required by Gov. Brian Kemp's order set to take effect tomorrow.
It also states that DeKalb residents are "urged, advised, encouraged and implored to wear cloth face covers" in public.
The governor's order to begin reopening some businesses has been met with heavy scrutiny. Thurmond's executive order asks DeKalb County businesses to go above and beyond what Kemp has required.
County and city governments cannot legally require anything that goes the governor's order.
Kemp's order includes a 20-point list of "Minimum Basic Operations" requirements. (Those can be seen in the executive order signed April 2.)
On top of those, Thurmond's order asks businesses to do the following:
- Require workers to report when a member of his/her household is exhibiting signs of illness and to not report to work;
- Consider implementing additional front-line pay for the period of time that the State of Georgia is under a declaration of emergency;
- Focus on enhanced communication with employees and public;
- Encourage patrons to take precautions, such as wearing cloth face covers;
- Implement contingency plans in advance in the event that an employee becomes ill;
- Obtain extra personal protective equipment, when able to acquire without interfering with any need by healthcare workers;
- Consider expanding leave policies to encourage workers who are sick or need to care for a sick family member to remain at home and to accommodate workers who must care for their children due to school cancellation;
- Consider cleaning and sanitizing restrooms after every use;
- For businesses that primarily serve clientele that are over the age of 65, reside in nursing homes or long-term care facilities or who are medically fragile, as described herein, consider additional and more frequent disinfection and cleaning of the premises.
- Follow the recommendations and guidance issued by State of Georgia Boards that maintain workers’ respective licenses.
"The Chief Executive Officer is convinced that businesses and citizens must take additional steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 and recognize their individual and shared responsibility to help mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19," the order states.
"It's common sense and rational thinking," Thurmond said Thursday. "This is not business as usual.... We cannot allow us to become complacent about taking every precaution to protect life and safety."
And if businesses are not able to impose hospital-grade sanitation practices among employees and in their facilities, "then you have to make the decision not to reopen. It is a ticking time bomb."
On Thursday, eleven local chapters of the NAACP in Georgia urged businesses and employees not to return to work, despite the governor's declaration permitting some of them to do so beginning Friday.
"A job is no good if you lose your life for it," said Richard Rose, president of NAACP Atlanta.
Rose believes it's better for everyone to wait until Georgia catches up with testing and with contact tracing, "to really find out how deep this coronavirus infection is in all of Georgia."
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