At a special called City of Waycross Commission meeting on Thursday, March 26, 2020, the City Commission issued a Declaration of Local Emergency to help combat the spread of COVID-19; Coronavirus.

Beginning on March 27, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., the Declaration will put into effect the following:

1. The City Commission hereby declares a public health state of emergency within the City because of the proliferation of COVID-19 in the United States and the State of Georgia, which will remain in force and effect for thirty (30) days from the date hereof. 

2. For the duration of the declared emergency, all city parks are hereby closed and the City Manager shall take appropriate action to remove basketball rims on basketball courts and to otherwise see that city parks are not used as a place for persons to congregate.  The City Chief of Police is also ordered to cancel any permits for conduct in public parks or public spaces during the effective dates of this Declaration of a Local State of Emergency.  Exception: Ware County Board of Education and any non-profit organization may use Memorial Park, Pernell Roberts Park or E.E. Moore Park to distribute food to citizens and children but they shall observe social distancing and ensure that no more than nine (9) persons are gathered if it requires persons to stand or to be seated within six feet (6’) of any other person;   

3. Restaurants and other eating and dining establishments where food is served must cease offering dine-in services but may continue preparing and offering food to customers via delivery, drive-through or take-out services.  Patrons, employees and contractors of the establishments must maintain at least six feet (6’) of personal distance between themselves as much as possible given the physical constraints of the premises.  

4. Gyms, fitness centers, pools, social clubs, amusement facilities, bowling alleys, pool halls, theaters, massage parlors, nail salons, hair salons, hair stylist shops, cosmetologists, barber shops and any other similar facility, any facility used for an activity that involves prolonged physical proximity of individuals, and any facility used for entertainment, social, grooming, or general health and wellbeing purposes, must close and remain closed for the duration of this emergency.

5. Establishments such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other businesses which remain open during the emergency must post signage on entrance doors informing consumers to maintain at least six feet (6’) of personal distance between themselves and others as much as possible given the physical constraints of the premises. 

6. No worship services shall be held in the City of Waycross if attended by ten (10) or more persons during the term of this Declaration of Local State of Emergency.  This directive includes, but not be limited to the following: church services, funerals, weddings, baptisms, church suppers, Wednesday night services, Bible study, Sunday school, choir practice, Brotherhood meetings, Deacons meetings, and revivals, as well as any and all other such meetings related to church services.  Nothing in this Declaration of Local State of Emergency shall prohibit churches from livestreaming services or holding services remotely as long as such live-streaming or remote services do not result in more than ten (10) persons being present at any single location.  In the event persons are gathered as permitted herein, the attendees shall be free from any symptoms of COVID-19 (as recognized by the CDC as indicators of COVID-19) and any persons gathering shall maintain social distancing of at least six feet (6’).  Funeral homes, shall ensure vehicles used to transport families in the event of a funeral service shall be thoroughly cleaned between uses in accordance with CDC guidelines.

7. All public and private gatherings of more than ten (10) people occurring outside of a household or living unit are prohibited.  Nothing in this ordinance, however, prohibits the gathering of individuals for the purposes of carrying on business certified as “essential” by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-3-58 or designated by the Governor as “critical infrastructure” or the provision of medical or health services.

8. A curfew is imposed from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. effective immediately.  Residents, unless “exempt individuals” as defined herein, shall remain in their homes or on their property during the curfew period.  Exempt individuals include those individuals engaged in the provision of designated, essential services, such as (1) fire; (2) law enforcement; (3) medical and hospital services, including veterinary services; (4) military services; (5) utility emergency repairs; (6) persons seeking emergency medical services or hospital services; (7) individuals traveling to and from their jobs with appropriate identification and persons traveling to medical facilities; (8) individuals engaged in the delivery of food, medicine, medical supplies, fuel including, but not limited to, the re-stocking of grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores;  (9) news media employees; (10) designated employees or agents of businesses designated by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency as “essential” pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-3-58; (11) persons providing necessary care of companion animals in the custody and care of an animal shelter, boarding facility, or kennel and persons walking personal animals; and (12) critical infrastructure businesses and employees as designated by the Governor or identified by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

9. (a) Enforcement.  Except as otherwise provided for herein, and in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 38-3-4, as amended, the city's police department, emergency management coordinator and code enforcement personnel shall be authorized, within the corporate limits of the city, to enforce the orders, rules and regulations contained in this ordinance.

(b) Penalties.  Failure to comply with any of the requirements or provisions of the regulations contained in this Ordinance, or with any code section, order, rule or regulation made effective by the City Commission upon or after the declaration of an emergency shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this ordinance.  Any person who violates any provision in this ordinance shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment, for each violation.  Each person assisting in the commission of a violation shall be guilty of separate offenses.  Each day during which a violation or failure to comply continues shall constitute a separate violation.

10. Utility (water) bill payments may be submitted via the dropbox on the side of City Hall or online at