Snellville residents can participate in early voting for the Dec. 3 city council seat run-off election until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27. (Courtesy City of Snellville)
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Snellville, Dacula latest in Gwinnett to declare emergency over coronavirus

Snellville and Dacula have joined five other Gwinnett cities and the county in declaring an emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the emergency declaration, Dacula will still hold its local election on Tuesday. The city cites “express authorization” given by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office on March 16 as its reason for proceeding with the vote despite concerns over the spread of the virus.

READ | Gwinnett closes playgrounds, outdoor sports facilities due to coronavirus

Emergency declarations give cities additional powers to hold meetings on short notice, use teleconferencing to reduce person-to-person contact and issue executive orders banning actions that could worsen the situation. Dacula’s emergency declaration does not directly address any of these options, but it still has these powers.

Snellville’s emergency declaration allows restaurants in city limits to sell unopened beer and wine and beer growlers to go. Snellville is not placing restrictions on group gatherings or movement, but encourages residents to shelter in place — not leave their homes unless necessary — and to practice social distancing.

Norcross, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Sugar Hill and Suwanee had previously issued state of emergency declarations. Each city is handling it slightly differently, with Suwanee and Duluth banning in-person dining but Lawrenceville officially discouraging it. Norcross’ police chief has discouraged residents from gathering in groups of 10 or more.

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