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City, county leaders encourage residents to stay home as state shelter-in-place order expires

One county will be distributing thousands of masks and hand sanitizer over the weekend

ATLANTA — Local county and city leaders are doing their part to keep communities safe, as Gov. Brian Kemp allows the state shelter-in-place order to expire Thursday night for most Georgians. 

Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts said he believes many Georgians will continue to shelter in place after midnight, including some businesses that remained closed even after they were allowed to re-open last Friday. 

“They are just taking baby steps, I guess is the best way to describe it," Pitts said.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said he hopes Kemp's decision was the right move, but isn't going to wait to find out. 

“You can’t run a county the size of DeKalb - with 750,000 people - based on hope," Thurmond said. "We have to also be practical and realize that there’s a huge risk associated with reopening the state at this time."

Thurmond added that this coming weekend, DeKalb will be distributing thousands of masks and hand sanitizers to residents there, now that the shelter in place order will be lifted.  

“We have to do more in reaction to the fact that more people will be out, more people will be interacting with one another and, consequently, increasing the probability of reigniting this horrible disease," he said. 

A possible round two of COVID-19 cases is also a concern the mayor of Athens, Kelly Girtz, also shares, as he continues to encourage his residents to stay put. 

“If we don't continue to shelter in place, it means that coming through this might not just see a second wave, but a series of waves of infections, and so I want that to be avoided," he said. 

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