COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Georgia and Alabama are now both under stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19, and many across the Chattahoochee Valley have questions about what that means for residents.
Community leaders across the Valley said the key to these orders is asking yourself before you leave the house if what you’re doing must be done right now or can wait a few weeks.
“I think the underlying focus of this thing is to try and encourage people to stay at home unless they have an absolutely essential need for the health, safety or welfare of their family,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said.
But residents in communities on both sides of the Chattahoochee Valley have questions about what’s essential. They’ve sent News Leader 9 questions, such as: Can I walk my dog at the Park? Can I still go to my job across the river in another state? And where exactly am I allowed to go if I leave my house?
“If you don’t need to be out, and there’s not a real reason for you to be away from your home, then don’t go,” Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said.
According to these orders from the governors, you can leave to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, and even places like Home Depot or Best Buy if it means you’re getting supplies essential to maintaining your home or working from home.
“Our biggest thing is we want folks to take this seriously,” Eufaula Mayor Jack Tibbs said. “We know it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
There are places that are shut down for the time being like bars, gyms, hair salons, and more, but you can get food through takeout, drive through, or curbside pickup.
You can cross state lines to go to work or buy essential items, and you can still go outside, take your dog for a walk, or go for a run. just make sure you’re staying at least six feet away from everyone.
And as for churches and religious gatherings, while technically allowed to meet as long as there are less than 10 people and six feet of distance, community leaders are pleading churches and congregations to stay at home.
“This is a very unique opportunity for our religious leaders to be leaders,” Henderson said. “They’re there to protect and administer to their flock and we encourage them to do so through more innovative ways, using technology and other resources available.
But leaders said key to all this is just stay at home as much as possible for your safety and the safety of others.
“Stay inside,” Anders said. “Sacrifice now, so we can celebrate later.”