Tucker eschews stay-at-home order, says its plan more enforceable

Tucker Mayor Frank Auman

Tucker Mayor Frank Auman

The city of Tucker put new coronavirus-related restrictions in place Tuesday — but eschewed the more stringent measures recently adopted by many of its neighbors.

Mayor Frank Auman said he understands the desire for uniformity, but said his city's plan is smarter and more effective than the stay-at-home order that DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond enacted last week for unincorporated parts of the county.

Several municipalities within DeKalb had already enacted similar measures — which prohibit residents from leaving their homes except for “essential activities” — and Thurmond encouraged those who hadn’t to follow his lead.

Many took the suggestion. Tucker has not.

“We don’t deny that there's confusion across borders and that kind of thing,” Auman told the AJC on Tuesday. “But we're certainly not going to adopt what we view to be a lesser solution just because everyone else is doing it.”

Tucker, a northeastern DeKalb city of around 36,000 residents, previously prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people unless proper physical distance could be maintained. It had also installed a mandatory 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for residents and businesses.

Auman’s new order extends the curfew for another 30 days while also adding new restrictions, including the suspension of in-restaurant dining and the closure of businesses like hair salons, nail salons and massage establishments that involve “customer contact.”

Other cities in DeKalb and elsewhere had previously adopted such measures.

Unlike many of those orders, though, Auman’s says that violations of Tucker’s new regulations will be punishable by $1,000 fines and up to six months in jail. Auman said the DeKalb Police Department’s local precinct and the city’s code enforcement are making sure people and businesses comply.

DeKalb County's stay-at-home order, meanwhile, merely authorizes police officers and other government employees to enforce compliance through "information delivery and education." The stay-at-home order from Gwinnett County, which neighbors Tucker to the east, continues similar language.

“We feel like our method, our approach on it all, is most likely to get widespread compliance,” Auman said.

Tucker’s order also suspends late fees and penalties for businesses that are delinquent in securing their business license.