The city of Brookhaven has extended its COVID-19 state of emergency order with a few changes, including lifting a restriction on public gatherings that has been in place since March of 2020. 

The city originally declared a local state of emergency on March 16, 2020, and has periodically renewed that ordinance since that date. The new ordinance will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on June 18. 

The ordinance gets rid of a prohibition on public gatherings on city property. The previous order banned gatherings of more than 30 people on property owned or controlled by the city, unless social distancing measures were maintained. 

Some of the updates to the local order mirror Gov. Brian Kemp’s latest order, which cuts back on many COVID-19 safety protocols. The ordinance allows sports leagues and teams, including Murphey Candler Baseball and other teams associated with schools, to participate in games “as authorized by the Governor’s order.” According to Kemp’s most recent order, sports events can operate according to the rules or guidelines of their respective leagues or conferences. 

However, while the governor’s order eliminates restaurant distancing requirements and mask requirements for workers, the Brookhaven order still encourages restaurants to have their staff wear masks, even if they have been vaccinated. The order also encourages restaurants to allow for takeout and allows for takeout of alcoholic beverages. 

The ordinance also states that unless extended by the City Council, the city’s mandate to wear a mask while indoors will expire on June 1. According to the ordinance, the average number of cases in DeKalb County over the last two weeks is over 100 cases for every 100,000 residents. 

This metric is called the “threshold requirement” and was introduced by Kemp in August of 2020 when he allowed cities and counties to mandate mask-wearing. As of May 4, the total number of cases in DeKalb County per 100,000 people over the last two weeks is 120, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

Individual businesses are still allowed to opt out of the mask ordinance, according to the ordinance. The ordinance also states that public city meetings will continue to be held virtually while the order is in effect. 

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.