Gwinnett library cancels events, board considers coronavirus responses

Gwinnett libraries are canceling events. GWINNETT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY / AJC FILE PHOTO

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Gwinnett libraries are canceling events. GWINNETT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY / AJC FILE PHOTO

Gwinnett County leaders are still contemplating what steps the government should take in response to the coronavirus. But some cancellations have already begun.

The county library system has canceled all programs and meeting room reservations until April 6, said Charles Pace, the executive director. There are no plans to close branches at this point, but that may change.

“This is so fluid, it’s changing so rapidly,” Pace said.

The library system has also suspended the collection of fines, to discourage people who feel ill from leaving their houses to return materials. It’s instituted more frequent cleaning and Pace said he’s encouraging employees who are sick not to come to work.

Pace also said he’s asking the county commission for an emergency leave policy that would allow all employees — including part-time workers who don’t have leave — to get paid if the library system closes.

“We’re trying to figure all this out as we go along,” he said.

County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said in an email that the government is working on changes to how seniors are served, since older people are at greater risk for contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. She said the government is coordinating with the Public Health Department to make sure essential services can continue.

“There is no need for panic but there is every reason to take precautions that can help protect individuals, especially the most vulnerable, and slow the rate at which COVID-19 spreads,” Nash wrote.

The county has canceled a ribbon cutting scheduled for Tuesday at Freeman’s Mill Park. Commissioner Tommy Hunter said in a text message that he had requested the event be postponed.

Hunter also said he would not participate in any events until at least March 23. The county commission has a meeting scheduled Tuesday at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, known as GJAC, which Hunter said he will not attend.

“Everything else is shutting down,” Hunter wrote. “No sense risking it. LOTS of people go through GJAC every day.”

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