COVID-19 update: Impact to courts, elections, parks and more
– August 1, 2020
August 1, 2020
Gwinnett County Government is monitoring developments in the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and how it may affect our residents, employees, and our delivery of important County services.
Public Health State of Emergency in place through September 10
On Friday, July 31, Governor Kemp extended the Public Health State of Emergency through September 10. The Public Health State of Emergency allows for enhanced coordination across government and the private sector for supply procurement, comprehensive testing and healthcare capacity.
In addition, Governor Kemp issued additional guidance on empowering a healthy Georgia on July 31. Read the latest executive order (07.31.20.02) .
Georgians are still urged to practice social distancing and refrain from gathering. All residents and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable when outside their homes, except when eating, drinking, or exercising outdoors. Residents and visitors should also practice sanitation in accordance with CDC guidelines.
The new order extends the limit on public gatherings through August 15. Public gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people in a single location, unless attendees maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.
Residents and visitors who meet criteria for being at higher risk of severe illness must continue to shelter in place through August 15. These criteria include those living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, those who are immunocompromised, and those with chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, severe heart disease, class III or severe obesity, or one of the following underlying medical conditions: diabetes, liver disease, or chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
The state has provided guidance to help businesses, like restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, food establishments, and more understand restrictions and requirements for operating during this time.
The Governor's Office and the Georgia Department of Health are partnering to promote simple but critical measures that will keep Georgians safe from COVID-19. Wear a face covering, wash your hands, regularly sanitize surfaces, and stay six feet away from others. For more information about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 and what to do if you are sick, please visit Coronavirus.gov.
Emergency assistance available to seniors
Emergency assistance for seniors is available for those who are over 60. If you or someone you know is over 60 and facing hunger, health, or mobility issues, please call 678.377.4150 to speak with Senior Services staff.
Gwinnett Tax Commissioner offices open
All Gwinnett Tax Commissioner are open with measures in place to promote social distancing and protect staff and customers. Visitors can check wait times in advance at GwinnettTaxCommissioner.com/wait.
Customers are still encouraged to skip the trip and use e-services, drop-off and kiosks for most transactions. Customer service is available 8:00am to 5:00pm weekdays via phone, email and chat. Visit the Gwinnett Tax Commissioner’s website for contact details, links to e-services, and more information.
GJAC public hours modified
To promote the safety of employees and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hours that the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center is open to the public with limited hours. The main entrance of GJAC is open to the public from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. The building is normally open to the public 8:00am to 10:00pm on weekdays.
People who must visit GJAC in person are urged to follow CDC guidelines of keeping six feet apart, washing hands frequently, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
Tax Assessor's Office open, lobby closed
The Tax Assessor's Office is open during normal business hours, from 8:00am to 5:00pm weekdays. Although the lobby is closed to the public, the Tax Assessor's Office offers walk-up stations in the hall that allow visitors to communicate with staff through audio and video. Additionally, the office has increased the number of people available to receive phone calls and respond to emails sent to Taxpayer.Services@gwinnettcounty.com.
The Tax Assessor's e-services are available at all hours to do property research, view and download copies of annual notices of assessment, and file appeals. Documents may also be filed by mail. Personal Property returns, Freeport Applications, and other applications should be delivered by mail with a stamped mail date to be recorded as the filing date. Visit the Gwinnett Assessor's website for all these tools at Gwinnett-Assessor.com.
Residential and Commercial Annual Notices of Assessment were mailed May 1. Personal Property Annual Notices were mailed May 18. These Annual Notices of Assessment are not tax bills. Instead, the notice informs each property owner of their property information and value assessed as of January 1, 2020. Annual Notices of Assessment may be appealed within 45 days of the date on the notice, and the last date to file an appeal is printed on the notice. To appeal your 2020 value, visit Gwinnett-Assessor.com. The last date to file an appeal for Annual Notices of Assessment issued on May 1 expired on June 15, 2020. The last date to file an appeal on notices issued May 18 was July 2, 2020.
Planning & Development operates with limited staff onsite
The Gwinnett County Department of Planning & Development at One Justice Square is operating with limited staff onsite but also has employees working remotely to respond to inquiries online. Residents and business owners are encouraged to email Planning & Development staff or take advantage of our many online services.
People who must visit Planning & Development offices in person are urged to follow CDC guidelines of keeping six feet apart, washing hands frequently, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
Water Resources encourages customers to pay bill online, by phone
Because of reduced customer service staff and longer wait times, Gwinnett County water customers are encouraged to make payments online at Gwinnetth2o.com/paymybill or through the automated phone service, 678.376.6800 (option 1). The Department of Water Resources encourages any customer who is having a difficult time making water bill payments during this National Crisis to contact DWR's Customer Care Team at 678.376.6800.
DWR emphasizes that drinking water is still safe to consume. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water, and conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, like those in our drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. For more information about DWR's response to COVID-19.
Gwinnett Animal Shelter open for limited visitors
The Gwinnett Animal Shelter has reopened for limited visitors. At this time, the shelter will have a maximum occupancy of 25 people. All visitors should follow CDC guidelines, including maintaining six feet of distance, handwashing, and wearing a face covering as much as possible.
Completing an online adoption/foster application in advance will help speed up the process for visitors when they arrive for their meet-and-greet with new potential pets. Visitors may be asked to wait in their cars or in the shelter's Education Room. Visitors may bring family members and current pets to the meet-and-greet but are asked to be mindful about the maximum capacity and others waiting their turn. All adoption fees are currently waived. Learn more at GwinnettAnimalWelfare.com.
Gwinnett County Transit restarted commuter express service June 1 with five routes to downtown Atlanta on I-85 on a reduced schedule and with safeguards to help protect riders .
Along with Route 110, which continued to operate past April 23 and serve Emory University and the CDC, Routes 101, 102, 103, and 103A will run Monday through Friday during peak times on a reduced schedule. Commuter buses will seat only 14 passengers to promote social distancing. Commuter service was curtailed April 23 after Governor Brian Kemp issued a Shelter-in-Place order for all but essential businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
GCT will continue to operate seven local routes. Gwinnett County Transit is restricting boarding on local buses to 14 passengers, plus a driver. Once a local bus reaches capacity, it displays “Bus Full. Please wait for the next bus” until there is room on the bus. Customers should consider only taking essential trips so that others may still be able to get to their essential destinations as well.
Gwinnett County Transit customers using local buses will enter and exit buses using the REAR doors only, except for customers who require the accessibility ramp or kneeling function. Because fare box equipment is located at the front door, Gwinnett County Transit is temporarily suspending fare collection on all bus routes.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, when available, hand sanitizer will be placed on buses for passenger use. We are also deep cleaning all buses and vans daily, an increase from once a month. The cleaning products used for deep cleaning kill germs at a rate of 99.9 percent.
Staff from the Gwinnett County Office of Economic Development is available by phone, video conferencing, and email. Business outreach assistance is still available, but all in-person meetings and Coffee and Conversation networking events have been postponed.
Georgia has received a statewide declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration that will provide SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses. The loans are available for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit the Economic Development COVID-19 Business Resource and Information page.
County Business Continuity
An internal task force has been working to evaluate existing policies and prepare additional plans for business continuity to allow us to continue to provide essential services to the community.
Courts and Trials
On Friday, July 10, Chief Justice Harold D. Melton of the Supreme Court of Georgia extended the statewide judicial emergency declaration through Tuesday, August 11.
The latest order authorizes courts to move forward with all judicial proceedings except criminal and civil jury trials and most grand jury proceedings, as long as the courts can legally, safely and practicably do so. The order continues the prohibition on jury trial proceedings and most grand jury proceedings and states “it is unlikely that any jury proceedings will begin until September or later.”
The order includes guidance that courts should continue to use and increase the use of technology to conduct remote judicial proceedings as a safer alternative to in-person proceedings, unless required by law to be in person or unless it is not practicable for technical or other reasons.
The order also states that the reinstatement of most deadlines and filing requirements imposed on litigants, effective July 14, will allow more pending and newly filed cases to move forward in the judicial process in an effort to return to more robust court operations.
As a result of this extension, the March 30 order signed by Chief Judge George Hutchinson III of the Gwinnett County Superior Court is also extended through August 11.
June 12 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
May 11 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
April 6 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
March 30 Order Extending Judicial Emergency
March 14 Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency
March 13 Order Declaring Judicial Emergency
Guidelines in place for in-court judicial proceedings
The Gwinnett Judicial Circuit has established a set of guidelines to follow to enhance safety for in-court proceedings. The guidelines cover general infection control measures, increased health and safety measures, healthy and safe access to the courtroom, maintaining a healthy and safe courtroom, and healthy and safe court employees, jurors, and inmates .
Clerk of Courts office at GJAC closed through July 27
On the evening of July 10, an employee of the Clerk's office notified management that they had tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is a deputy clerk and typically interacts with the public. Individuals who had direct contact with the employee have been notified and directed to self-quarantine and/or self-monitor. The affected workspaces and common areas will be disinfected and sanitized, and the employee has been placed on leave until cleared by a physician to return to work.
The Clerk's office at the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center is closed to the public until Monday, July 27. The satellite office located at the Gwinnett County Detention Center will continue normal operations. Documents can be electronically filed through efilega.com and real estate records filed through efile.gsccca.org.
Electronic filing of documents in criminal cases available
The Gwinnett County Clerk of Superior and State Courts has announced that e-filing for criminal cases will be available beginning June 24 through Tyler Technologies' Odyssey eFileGA. Attorneys and self-represented parties will be able to electronically file into existing criminal cases starting that day. Find FAQs, filing instructions, and training opportunities at odysseyefilega.com.
While still under the guidelines of the Order, the Gwinnett County Probate Court started to safely re-open its offices beginning Monday, June 15. Most services will be provided in person, with the exception of requests for birth, death, and marriage certificates that will be received by mail or by using the Probate Court's drop box.
Marriage license applications and weapons carry license applications will be accepted by appointment only. Please visit GwinnettCourts.com/probate to download the application and schedule your appointment. Other Probate Court services should be handled by mail or online. For more information, visit GwinnettCourts.com/probate or email email@example.com.
Gwinnett County Recorder's Court reopened June 15 with efforts in place to reduce the number of people who will be in the building at the same time. The following measures have been put in place to ensure a safe environment in keeping with CDC guidelines:
- Dedicated entry and exit doorways, queue lines, and floor markings to encourage 6-foot distancing
- All areas will be sanitized after each court session
- Hand sanitizing stations have been placed in several places around the courthouse
- Writing pens are sanitized after each use
- Glass barriers have been installed at the payment windows
- Face masks are encouraged to be used while inside the courthouse
- Traditionally, the court has two arraignment calendars each day, but it has expanded that to four arraignment calendars to reduce the number of people in the courthouse
If you or a family member have recently been exposed to COVID-19 or you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please do not enter the courthouse. Recorder's Court encourages residents to handle cases by phone at 1.877.794.0988, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting GwinnettRC.com.
Parks and Recreation indoor and outdoor facilities
Park hours are modified from sunrise to sunset with a maximum capacity of 50 at amenities like pavilions, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, playgrounds, skate parks, and ball fields. The maximum capacity at dog parks will remain 25. Park patrons should comply with the posted guidelines. Learn more about guidelines and openings.
Community Recreation Centers and Activity Buildings are not open to the public at this time, but are hosting safe and healthy summer camps. Find more information about summer camp adventures.
Parks and Recreation aquatic centers
- Reservations can be made one day in advance at GwinnettParks.com Leisure Play Pool Time or by calling the facility for Lap/Exercise Swim Time
- Walk-up reservations are permitted, if space is available
- Visitors can bring their own pool noodle or Coast Guard approved lifejackets; use of our shared equipment is not allowed
- All pool rules apply; for more information, visit our Pool Rules
- Best Friend Park pool and Rhodes Jordan Park pool
- Leisure Play Pool Time, reservations are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
- 11:00am – 2:00pm or 3:00pm – 6:00pm
- Gwinnett resident admissions are $4.25; non-Gwinnett resident fees are double ($8.50)
- Bethesda Park Aquatic Center, Bogan Park Aquatic Center, Collins Hill Park Aquatic Center, Mountain Park Aquatic Center, and West Gwinnett Park Aquatic Center
- Leisure Play Pool Time, reservations are daily
- 11:00am – 2:00pm or 3:00pm – 6:00pm
- Gwinnett resident admissions are $4.25; non-Gwinnett resident fees are double ($8.50)
- Bethesda Park Aquatic Center, Bogan Park Aquatic Center, Collins Hill Park Aquatic Center, Mountain Park Aquatic Center, and West Gwinnett Park Aquatic Center:
- Lap/Exercise Swim Time, reservations are daily
- Call the facility to make your reservation
- Reservations are in one-hour increments for every other lane
- Regular pool admission fees apply
Temperature and symptom screenings of visitors will be conducted with no-touch thermometers. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to enter. Visitors can bring their own pool noodle or Coast Guard approved lifejackets; use of our shared equipment is not allowed. All pool rules apply; for more information, read our Pool Rules.
Senior Services and Programming
All Gwinnett County senior center operations and senior recreation programming has been suspended.
Seniors who receive their meals through our senior congregate programming have been added to the County's home-delivered meals program to ensure that their essential needs are being met at home. Meals will continue to be delivered directly to the homes of seniors who already participate in our home delivered meal program, and in-home services will continue for those clients who receive homemaking and respite services.
All operations and programs at Prime Timers Pointe at George Pierce Park and Bethesda Park Senior Center have also been suspended.
Events and Activities
Events and activities are currently suspended.
If a Gwinnett County Community Services event you have registered for is canceled, you will receive an email or phone call notifying you of the cancellation. Any registration fee will be refunded.
Safety measures encouraging social distancing are in place in County facilities, and temperature screenings are being conducted upon entry to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center and the Courts Annex. If you must visit a County facility, please check that the facility is open during normal hours. Visitors are urged to practice social distancing and personal protective measures, like avoiding contact with people who are sick, practicing coughing and sneezing etiquette, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and washing your hands thoroughly and regularly.
Gwinnett County also offers a variety of online services that offer residents an alternative to coming into a County facility.
Police and Fire and Emergency Services
Police and Fire and Emergency Services have staffing plans to ensure adequate response to any emergency call. They also have established CDC-based protocols for handling calls with people with COVID-19 to protect everyone involved.
Keep checking this article for updates as we address this developing situation.