COVID cases put Augusta in “red zone”

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AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – Mayor Hardie Davis has an executive order that will run through September 7th mandating masks in businesses. He says this is enforceable after Governor Kemp withdrew his lawsuit against Atlanta’s mask mandate. 

Augusta officials say the coronavirus is not under control in the Garden City. 

 “Doing nothing is not an option. We have to come together and do all we can do to fight this,” said Fire Chief and EMA Director Chris James.  

Mayor Davis saying a white house report puts Augusta in the red zone for the coronavirus. 

“We’re in the red zone for test positivity and we have a test positivity rate above ten percent,” said Mayor Davis.  

The mayor says COVID has claimed 95 lives in Augusta including Utilities Department Director Tom Wiedmeier 

“A very dear friend, somebody who worked in this local government for two decades, a good Augustan,” said Mayor Davis.  

The red zone designation has Augusta officials not only mandating masks, but also recommending people stay away from certain businesses because of the virus.  

“We recommend you do not go to bars, don’t go to nightclubs and don’t go to the gyms. Those have been identified as places where it’s very difficult to social distance,” said Chief James.  

Sheriff Roundtree says his deputies are going to bars and night clubs. The owners of the Country Club were cited for reckless conduct after a concert there two weeks ago. He says deputies have investigated 44 other bars and nightclubs. He says there were no violations of occupancy rules, but those inspections will continue. 

“We announced it last week, we were going to be out, we’re announcing it this week that we’re going to be out. It’s no secret, we’re not trying to ambush anyone, we’re not trying to shut down any businesses. We’re just trying to make them as safe as possible,” said Sheriff Roundtree. 

Sheriff Roundtree says his office has not received any calls about violations of the mask mandate at businesses. As for the virus, health officials say though Augusta is in the red zone with its positive cases, it seems over the past few weeks that has started to plateau. 

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