COVID-19 update: Impact to courts, elections, parks and more

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January 19, 2021

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 February 7, 2021

On Wednesday, December 30, Governor Kemp extended the Public Health State of Emergency through February 7, 2021. 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 December 30. Read the latest executive order (

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 January 31. 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 January 31. 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

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

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.

Possible delays to trash and recycling service

Due to the impact of COVID-19, residents may experience delays in the collection of trash, recycling, and yard debris. Gwinnett County and our contracted residential solid waste haulers are committed to providing safe and quality service.

Residents can help to provide safer working conditions by:

  • Bagging trash;
  • Not bagging recycling and removing food and liquid residue;
  • Recycling only plastic bottles and jugs, paper, cardboard, cartons, and metal cans;
  • Emptying liquids from containers; and
  • Disinfecting container handles and lids.

Thank you for your patience during these uncertain times. Residents may contact Gwinnett County Solid Waste Management at  or 770.822.7141.  

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

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

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 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


Gwinnett County Transit is operating with five routes to downtown Atlanta and Decatur on I-85 during the pandemic, and with safeguards to help protect riders.

Routes 110 and 103A will run on their regular, full schedules, while Routes 101, 102, and 103 will run on a reduced schedule. Commuter buses will seat only 20 passengers to promote social distancing, plus the driver.

GCT is operating seven local routes. Gwinnett County Transit is restricting boarding on local buses to 15 passengers, plus the 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.

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.

Courts and Trials

On Tuesday, December 23, Chief Justice Harold D. Melton of the Supreme Court of Georgia modified the December 9  extension of the statewide judicial emergency declaration to prohibit jury trials until at least February.

The December 9 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 December 9 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 January 8.

Previous orders: 

December 9 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
November 10 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
October 10 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
September 10 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
August 11 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency
July 10 Order Extending Statewide Judicial Emergency 
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 .

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

Probate Court

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 to download the application and schedule your appointment. Other Probate Court services should be handled by mail or online. For more information, visit or email

Recorder's Court

Due to rising COVID concerns, the Recorder’s Court of Gwinnett County is not conducting in-person court appearances for the month of January. Cases scheduled for January are cancelled and will be re-set for a later date. Recorder’s Court will continue to utilize virtual meeting platforms to dispose of negotiated cases and other matters agreed to by all parties. If you are represented by counsel, please contact your attorney with questions. Attorneys and defendants not represented by counsel may contact the Solicitor’s Office to discuss your cases. 

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, or by visiting

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.

Active Adults, age 50+, may register for and attend Senior recreational programs offered at Prime Timers Pointe at George Pierce Park and Bethesda Park Senior Center. While program participants are welcome, these senior recreation centers remain closed for general access.

Aquatic Center, Community Recreation Centers, and Gyms are open, but game rooms remain closed. Visitors to Aquatic Centers can bring their own pool noodle or Coast Guard approved lifejackets; use of our shared equipment is not allowed. All pool rules and what not to wear apply.

Health & Human Services and Senior Services

All Gwinnett County senior center operations and senior recreation programming have been suspended. Seniors who receive their meals through our senior congregate meal program have been added to the County's home-delivered meal 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.

Events and Activities

Programs, events, and activities are available for registration. 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.

County Facilities

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.


Visit the  Gwinnett County Public Schools webpage or  Buford City Schools webpage for updates and information about the 2020 – 2021 school year, digital learning, nutrition programs, and more.

Keep checking this article for updates as we address this developing situation.