These signs were posted at each City of Decatur Park Tuesday March 24, the same day the city issued an Emergency Stay At Home order. Bill Banks for the AJC

Decatur issues ‘Stay at Home Order’ though parks remain open

On Tuesday Decatur issued an Emergency Stay At Home order in effect March 25 through April 7 unless extended or rescinded. The order prohibits city residents from leaving their homes except for “essential activities, essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses.”

City parks, however, remain open, with signs posted at each park Tuesday emphasizing, among other things, adhering “to social distancing requirements; remain six feet from others.” This declaration was also included in Tuesday’s Stay At Home order.

“The big issue we continue having is people congregating in the parks,” said City Manager Andrea Arnold. “We’re seeing people in the picnic areas and playing basketball and contact sports, and you can’t do that. We all have to get out for our physical well-being, but please practice social distancing.”

A Tuesday press release from the city broadly defines as “essential” those “businesses and activities related to health and safety including the delivery of those services and supplies to others such as food, medicine, and products essential to the operation of residences as one example. Examples of essential businesses include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, auto supply and repair, and restaurants offering to-go orders only.”

City services continue operating including trash pickups running on the same schedule as normal. Arnold emphasizes one change the city’s asking is that residents bring their garbage to the street.

Also, the multi colored pay-as-you-throw bags (green 8 gallons, yellow 15 gallons and blue 33 gallons) are still required. “The cost of those bags,” she said, “cover the city’s cost when we pay [DeKalb County] to use their landfill. We’re continuing to pay the county, so that’s a revenue we need to receive.”

Arnold added that if residents have issues with either finding bags at the usual local retailers or carting their trash to the curb, to call the city at 404-377-5571.

Meantime, the city has begun transitioning to holding virtual meetings, with a two-hour online video work session Tuesday run by the school board.

Tuesday was Decatur’s third emergency order since March 16 beginning with a Public Health State of Emergency (issued on March 16) essentially broadening Mayor Patti Garret’s powers as outlined by the city charter. This was followed by a March 19 edict proclaiming a Public Health Emergency Order prohibiting on-premises dining in restaurants.

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