Columbia County Chairman Doug Duncan addresses the county reopening


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Georgia might reopen today, but Columbia County County’s government will be closed to the public until Monday.

We caught up with Columbia County Chair Doug Duncan on how he feels the county should move forward.

Governor Kemp mandated this order partially to help the economic boost in Georgia.

When Columbia County held their press conference, their primary focus was to keep the economy in tact. They allowed businesses to stay open, unlike other area counties.

Chairman Duncan says it will be a slow financial rise, but he’s hopeful. He believes our county sales tax will be taking a big hit, but he also says the county does a good job of budgeting.

We asked him if he still agrees with his prior decision to keep businesses open.

“Statues don’t give us the express right to close businesses, but it does give us the right to manage, or better yet, enforce rules, which is what we did, and frankly, continue to do until the governor issued an order to close down particular businesses. So, yes, we did what we legally could do,” says Chairman Duncan.

Governor Kemp also mandated this order cause he saw the curve in Georgia flatten.

Chairman Duncan agrees with his decision. Even though the government building remains closed to the public, employees are slowly integrating back into the office.

They are using this week to disinfect inside and install plexiglass shields.

He says people that are not at high risk should be alright as long as they are following the CDC guidelines, but when it comes to those at high risk, he advises nothing to change even though the mandate is lifted.

“You know the high risk population,” says Chairman Duncan, “those that are older that have different type of health issues, they really need to stay sheltered-in-place. Probably the most important thing I can say is, if you fit into that category, stay sheltered in place. Do what you can to protect yourself.”

Chairman Duncan says this time is teaching everyone a new normal, like how businesses will operate, and how self-sufficient many employees have become with technology.

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