TIFTON — The Tift County Board of Commissioners extended the curfew and voluntary shelter at home to Apr. 30, at a called meeting Apr. 1. Commissioners met via phone.

The curfew runs from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next day.

The newly approved administrative order also extends the prohibition of gatherings of 10 or more people until Apr. 30.

The order could see changes after Governor Brian Kemp issues his executive order on sheltering in place, which is expected later today.

The new order requires businesses to screen employees coming on shift every day.

“With the amount of industrial and large businesses we have, we are mandating now that they screen every employee every day when the show up for work,” said county attorney Tony Rowell.

Employers will have a set of questions they have to ask each employee before they can come on shift. The questions include asking the employee if they’ve been in contact with anyone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 and if they have had any symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness.

Where possible, employers should make every effort to take the employee’s temperature.

Any employee with a temperature of higher than 100.4 would have to be sent home for 14 days, unless they’ve tested and can prove they don’t have COVID-19.

Businesses will be required to keep records of this.

“If they take the steps we’re asking them to take, they can keep going,” said Rowell. “If they’ll screen their employees as we require, they can remain open. Unless the governor changes that on a statewide level and orders them to shut down. We don’t have any control over that.”

The order also sets a citation fee structure for businesses that fail to comply. A first offense would get a $250 fine, a second would get a $500 fine and a third would get a $1,000 fine.

If the business still didn’t comply after the third fine, it would be fined $1,000 a day and the county could “consider revoking their business license,” according to county manager Jim Carter.

Carter noted that buying and ordering thermometers right now can be difficult due to demand.

“We don’t want to be antibusiness,” said Carter. “If a company is taking positive steps and trying hard to comply, I think we need to work with them.”

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