County orders certain businesses to close temporarily

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Under a  local emergency order signed March 25 by Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash, gyms, fitness centers, fitness studios, theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades and other similar establishments within unincorporated Gwinnett County are mandated to close temporarily.

The order also requires that restaurants, food courts, brewpubs, breweries and other eating establishments within unincorporated Gwinnett County cease offering dine-in and outdoor/patio service. These establishments may continue to offer food to customers through delivery, takeout and/or drive-thru service.

Exceptions include cafeterias or on-site dining services in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other similar facilities within unincorporated Gwinnett County following state and federal public health guidelines.

The order authorizes the use of personnel and resources to assist in enforcement.

Nash said this latest move was necessary as confirmed COVID-19 cases in Gwinnett County and in the state of Georgia continue to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates there is evidence of widespread community transmission in Georgia.

“The district commissioners and I are grateful for the level of cooperation among the cities and with the County,” said Nash. “We all recognize that working together is more important than ever as we deal with the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. The consistency achieved through our united action is significant for the good of all Gwinnett.”

Kelly Kelkenberg, president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association, said that Gwinnett's 16 cities acted together with Gwinnett County to align all emergency declarations. “We are united in the effort to assure Gwinnett residents of consistency in how we are approaching social distancing, businesses, law enforcement, emergency services and continued delivery of essential services during this critical time,” said Kelkenberg, who also serves as Duluth mayor pro-tem and has 25 years of experience with FEMA and U.S. Air Force disaster relief missions.

In keeping with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's directive to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the local order also requires the isolation, quarantine or shelter in place for certain populations, including all persons ordered by the public health department to do so; persons who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility residents; persons who have chronic lung disease; and persons who are currently undergoing cancer treatment. Further, all bars are ordered to cease operation, and no business, establishment, corporation, nonprofit, corporation or organization may allow more than 10 persons to be gathered at a single location if such gathering requires persons to stand or to be seated within 6 feet of any other person.

A stay at home local emergency order signed by Nash on March 27 continues and expands business closures, mandating that all businesses in Gwinnett County cease all activity except for the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business' inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, and related functions. This directive applies to for-profit, nonprofit, or private educational entities; it excludes essential businesses. Businesses consisting exclusively of employees or contractors who work from home may continue to operate.

All essential businesses are strongly encouraged to remain open while adhering to social distancing requirements. Such businesses include healthcare, grocery stores; certified farmer's markets; organizations that provide food, shelter and social services to those in need; news agencies; gas stations, auto supply and auto repair shops; banks; and restaurants that offer delivery, takeout or drive-thru service. For a complete list, please refer to the order.

Individuals who work to provide essential services or essential products may leave their places of residence to carry out these activities.

In addition, employers and businesses that remain open for use by the public must take the necessary steps to restrict in person contact and maintain a distance of 6 feet between individuals.

Watch a short video from Chairman Nash that explains how the stay at home order affects you.

If you have questions about any local emergency orders related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, please contact If you would like to report a violation, please email