DALTON, Georgia (WDEF) – The Dalton City Council is concerned about the rising cases of Covid-19 in the region.
In their Monday evening meeting, they talked about the need for face masks, but are NOT requiring them.
Here is the statement issued tonight by Mayor David Pennington and the Council:
It is very important that the people of Dalton and the greater northwest Georgia region realize that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. We all still need to take steps to protect ourselves and others from the virus. Those actions include, but are not limited to, wearing masks or facial coverings over the nose and mouth when in public places, keeping a minimum safe distance of six feet from other people, avoiding large gatherings, and frequently washing hands and sanitizing surfaces.
In late August, this council debated enacting a mask mandate for the City of Dalton. Our discussion determined that the confines of Governor Kemp’s executive order allowing local governments to take such action – namely the numerous exceptions that would prevent those measures from being enforced – defeated the purpose of such an order. Instead, we strongly encouraged the people of Dalton to wear masks when in public and to maintain their social distance. We’re underlining that again tonight – it is very important for public health to wear masks. We did enact a mask mandate for visitors to all city buildings and facilities, and we continue to uphold that order. And local businesses can require the use of masks on their premises and we will uphold those requirements as well.
We are seeing signs of a resurgence of the virus in our area. We recently received a report on virus testing in our area from the DEO clinic that indicated high positive rate in our community. Whitfield County is currently one of only two dark red counties on the state department of health’s COVID tracking map with more than 970 new cases in the past two weeks. We’re seeing serious illnesses in our area as a result, with hospitalizations and ICU admissions. This is not a time to let our guard down. This council is getting regular updates on the situation from local and state public health officials and we will take action if necessary. We do not want to see Dalton, Whitfield County, or the State of Georgia ending up back in a situation where lockdowns are again necessary to stop the virus. The impact on the local and regional economy would be devastating. We’re monitoring the situation daily.
So, please, we urge the people of Dalton to take this seriously and wear your masks and keep your social distancing up. This isn’t a political issue – it’s about public health and keeping our economic recovery going.