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Dunwoody expected to declare state of emergency Monday

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DUNWOODY, Ga. — The omicron COVID-19 variant is curtailing some city operations.

The City Council is expected to vote on an ordinance at its Jan. 10 meeting declaring a state of emergency throughout the city. The item is listed among the first matters on its business agenda.

“The City Council hereby declares that a state of emergency exists within the City affecting the safety, health and well-being of citizens due to the continued spread of the highly-contagious omicron variant,” the proposed ordinance states.

The City Charter allows the council to “carry out all reasonable provisions deemed necessary to deal with or meet such an emergency for the protection, safety, health or well-being of the citizens of the city.”

While the ordinance does not define “reasonable provisions,” it does specify some details about city meetings.

It provides that while council, board and commission meetings will take place as usual, a quorum will not be determined by how many members are present in person. Online meeting services, such as Zoom, have become commonplace during the COVID pandemic, and governments have adjusted their ordinances to allow for elected officials to participate electronically without running the risk of spreading or contracting the virus.

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If it receives council approval, the ordinance would remain in effect until Feb. 10.

In addition, Dunwoody Communications Manager Jennifer Boettcher said municipal court proceedings will be rescheduled for a later date. Notices have been mailed with new court dates and times to those affected by the postponement.

“While City Hall remains open with limited staff, most employees are working remotely,” Boettcher said. “We’re encouraging people to make appointments if they need to meet with staff and use online resources for open records requests, permits and business licenses.”

Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status inside city facilities, including Dunwoody City Hall, she said.

DeKalb County Schools last week announced that the first week after holiday break would be conducted virtually for all students. As of this press deadline, no decision had been made regarding in-person learning. 

Cathy covers local government and community news for the Dunwoody area.

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