Citizens react to Columbia County’s decision not to close essential businesses

Columbia County

EVANS Ga. (WJBF) —- The coronavirus has created a new reality in the CSRA. Augusta Richmond County leaders are mandating the closing of bars, restaurants, and other businesses to curb the spread of the virus. Columbia County Board of Commissioners announced business in the county will continue.

“I was honestly dishearted when the letter initially posted on Facebook,” said Cindy Mitchell. Then, the comments starting rolling.”

Unless Governor Brian Kemp calls for a shelter in place ban for all citizens, local governments are calling the shots on whether business to stay open or closed. The decision announced by Commission Chairman Doug Duncan, allowing businesses to remain open Columbia County, has citizens stunned.

“You have local doctors right here that live in Columbia County and work in Richmond County,” explained Mitchell. “They are telling you and pleading with you to shut it down. We can’t stop this, and it is going to get out of control if you keep things open.”

Mitchell lives in Columbia County and runs a toxicology business in Richmond County. She says she volunteered to close shop a few weeks ago out of the safety of her family.

“It would be irresponsible of me to continue to work,” explained Mitchell. “It’s not only putting others at risk, but it’s putting myself at risk.”

Mitchell says local governments like Columbia County should be more responsible in these times of uncertainty.

“It’s just like parenting a child,” said Mitchell. “Sometimes you have to tell them to do things they don’t want to do.”

Mitchell says remembering Columbia County’s sense of community is what’s important to its residents and something that should be on the forefront of leaders’ minds.

“This is a way to help each other,” said Mitchell. “As small business owners, we’re all about community. If we all get this virus, there is not going to be a community.”

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