The city of South Fulton will start a three-phase process to reopen operations July 13, with the remaining phases linked to specific target points in the decline of new COVID-19 cases in Fulton County and statewide.
The city’s plan outlines gradually increasing levels of reinstated services. Additionally, it sets protocols for social distancing, enhanced hygiene and sanitizing procedures; limited personal contact; and other safety measures.
The second phase of reopening will start only when daily numbers of new, documented virus cases, as reported by the Georgia Department of Health, show a steady decline over 14 days. Phase three will begin 30 days later if a continued decline is observed over a 14-day period.
“South Fulton residents are battling a colossal challenge – an invisible enemy that has tested each of us on a daily basis,” Mayor William “Bill” Edwards said. “But, overcoming challenges to create opportunities is something we’ve learned to do well, especially during this pandemic.”
“We have shown we are able to move forward in the greatest of adversity, while maintaining the highest levels of safety,” Edwards said. “This determination will serve us well as we start to reopen the city as efficiently as possible.”
To ensure a diverse range of viewpoints were represented in the plan, city officials surveyed employees and local businesses to gather their input, making South Fulton the only city known to do so, according to City Manager Odie Donald II.
Under the proposed plan, the city will reopen offices with strict social distancing and safety protocols in place and limited occupancy. Residents and staff will be required to wear masks and practice safe hygiene measures as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Residents must schedule appointments before visiting City Hall.
All city council, board and commission meetings will be conducted online and broadcast via live stream. Meetings and gatherings will be limited to 10 people with social distancing measures in place and workspaces will be redesigned to include plexiglass barriers, where needed.
The city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department will open parks for passive recreation activities, such as walking, jogging and biking. No facilities, restrooms or programs will be available. Parks will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 8 p.m. For more information, call (470) 809-7275. The department will continue to offer virtual services, including dance classes, sports clinics and physical fitness programs.
Residents can Municipal Contact court officials with questions or for information by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (470) 809-7400. Those who want to pay tickets can do so online at southfultonpay.com or by calling toll-free at (877) 575-7233. Cases can be contested through virtual hearings scheduled at cosfsolicitor.com.
“For a limited time, the solicitor has reduced certain fines and charges,” Pro Tem Judge Michael Sheridan said. “To find out if you are eligible for a lower fine or reduced charge, visitor southfultonpay.com or call the solicitor’s toll-free number.”
To take advantage of the lower fines and/or charge, defendants must make payments online no less than 10 days prior to their court dates. If a fine or citation has not been lowered, the defendant may schedule an appointment to speak to the city’s public defender at by calling (470) 809-7400 or contacting the solicitor via phone or video conference. Those who need additional time to pay can request extensions at cosfsolicitor.com.
All essential public safety, public works and community development services will continue as they have during the city’s closure. Residents and contractors can apply for construction permits online at sagesgov.com/southfulton-ga. For more information, call (470) 809-7708.
“This virtual approach will allow staff to conduct essential operations in a flexible way that ensures the safety of residents and city employees, which remains our top priority,” Donald said. “By following this plan, we will drastically reduce the possibility of transmitting the virus, while maintaining a healthy business and work environment.”
“The City of South Fulton has continued to be proactive in its efforts to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. In many cases, we have led both the region and the state in how we have responded to the global pandemic,” Donald said. “The proposed safe reopening plan aligns perfectly with our priorities and unified commitment to provide world-class service for every South Fulton resident, while ensuring everyone’s wellbeing.”