The Statham City Council quickly and unanimously approved a stay-at-home order in a called meeting Wednesday morning, April 1, aligning the city with orders put in place by Barrow County, the City of Auburn and the Town of Braselton. 

The Bethlehem Town Council followed suit Wednesday afternoon.

The orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, April 2, and runs through 11:59 p.m. April 13. Mayor Joe Piper said the order supersedes the one the council approved March 24, which included a nighttime curfew. 

The council's vote comes after Barrow County issued a stay-at-home order on Monday, March 30, for the unincorporated residents of the county.

Residents are ordered to stay at home except when conducting activities that are "essential to their own health and safety and that of family/household members, partners, significant others and pets." Those activities include obtaining food, medication and medical supplies household consumer supplies and health care services, or caring for a family member or pet in another household. People may also engage in outdoor activity such as walking, hiking, running or biking as long as they comply with "social distancing" requirements of maintaining at least six feet of space. People who work to provide essential services or essential products may leave their places of residence to carry out those activities.

Non-essential businesses are ordered to close but still may carry out "minimum basic operations."

"Essential" businesses are encouraged to remain open while complying with the social distancing requirements. Those businesses include health care businesses; grocery stores; farms; organizations that provide food, shelter and social services to those in need; news agencies; gas stations, auto supply and auto repair shops; shipping and receiving; banks; private education institutions; plumbers, exterminators, electricians and similar businesses; laundry service providers; and restaurants that offer delivery, takeout or drive-through service. 

A full list can be found here.

Auburn and Braselton had already issued stay-at-home orders Friday, March 27, in conjunction with Gwinnett County, and Barrow County officials had urged all municipalities in the county to approve one.

But the Winder City Council, in a called meeting Tuesday, March 31, rejected a stay-at-home order over concerns and confusion over a lengthy list of businesses deemed "essential" and exempt from closing. For now, the city will keep in place the emergency order it approved March 23, which includes a nighttime curfew. That order runs through Monday, April 6, and the council is likely to approve an extension at its work session that evening. 

The Bethlehem order approved included one additional exemption under the "essential business" clause: anyone traveling to a church for the purpose of providing a remote livestream service. 

Continue to check barrownewsjournal.com for the latest local and statewide updates. 

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