The Rome City Commission has ordered all residents to “shelter in place” in their homes as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. Residents are only to leave home for essential activities, government functions or to operate essential businesses.
This shelter in place order is currently set to stay in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 7. At that point, the city commission may extend the order depending on the situation.
The FCC had already declared a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. This state of emergency went into effect on Friday, March 20.
The state of emergency required all restaurants to close their dining areas and switch to takeout-only service. Even businesses that were not included in the resolution, such as movie theaters and some retail stores, have already chosen to close their doors.
“The reality is we’re trying to take this as seriously as possible and take it to heart,” Rome City Manager, Sammy Rich, told the Rome News Tribune.
He added that he encourages Floyd County citizens to follow the CDC’s guidelines for slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“I can tell you that this has probably never been done in the history of Rome,” Rome Mayor, Bill Collins, told RNT. “I know that every one of you out there have got to know the importance of this, but we’re doing what we deem necessary to protect our citizens in the city of Rome and Floyd County.”
In addition to these local measures, Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp, announced a series of measures intended to contain the virus. These measures include banning gatherings of more than 10 people and ordering “medically fragile” residents who may be at a higher risk to shelter in place.
Rome is not the only city in Georgia to take extra precautions. Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, signed a 14-day stay at home order for all Atlanta residents. Savannah’s mayor has also issued a shelter in place order.
Shorter University was the first school in the Floyd County area to close due to COVID-19, announcing, on March 12, that they would be transitioning to remote classes through April 10. GHC followed suit on March 17, when the administration announced that all courses would move to remote delivery methods after spring break.
The Floyd County and Rome City public school systems have both announced that schools will remain closed through April 24. On March 24, Berry College announced their campus will remain closed for the rest of the spring semester.
Online learning and social distancing lead to a time of transition for many students. They must adjust not only to a new method of course delivery but to a lack of social contact.
GHC student, Ansley Roden, said she is trying to stay positive. Roden works in the Floyd campus library, so the school’s closure means that she is no longer able to go to work.
“When I clocked out a few Thursdays ago, I didn’t know that it might be the last time,” Roden said. “I have tried to remain on a strict schedule so that I don’t fall into sadness about life changing so fast.”
Roden said that her advice to fellow students struggling with the shutdown is to use the extra time to focus on themselves.
“I am using this time to learn how to love just being with myself,” she said. “At the end of the day I need to be whole all by myself.”