The Brookhaven City Council approved an extension of its COVID-19 state of emergency order at a June 16 meeting, but did not reinstate its mask mandate. 

During the meeting, City Attorney Chris Balch said the main purpose of the extension is to “provide the city with the authority to begin its recovery from the pandemic [and] to delegate authority to the city manager to make operational changes as necessary to promote recovery and safe operations within city buildings and departments.” 

In the council’s last extension of the COVID-19 order on May 4, it extended the mask mandate until June 1, citing the fact that the average number of cases in DeKalb County over the last two weeks at the time was over 100 cases for every 100,000 residents.

That metric, known as the threshold requirement, was introduced by Gov. Brian Kemp in August of 2020, and allowed cities and counties to mandate mask wearing if the total number of cases was higher than the threshold. As of June 15, there have been 31 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

The order did not extend the city’s mask mandate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated people should still wear masks in many situations, including at small outdoor gatherings with other unvaccinated people. The CDC’s website states it is unsafe for unvaccinated people to dine at outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households, or to attend crowded outdoor events. 

The new order also extends the moratorium on enforcement of outdoor dining limits. Restaurants will still be able to use parking lots or other areas to maximize the availability of outside seating, and will still be able to offer to-go alcoholic beverages by the drink. Restaurants are encouraged to continue to limit indoor seating and have staff wear face coverings even if they have been vaccinated. 

Because of the extension, the city will still be able to hold council meetings and other city meetings virtually. Residents can read the ordinance in its entirety on the city’s website. 

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.