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Newton commissioners extend mask requirement in county facilities
County manager says he is still recovering from October COVID-19 bout
Newton County Historic Courthouse
Newton County Historic Courthouse - Mason Wittner | The Covington News

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton commissioners recently extended a mask mandate to protect those visiting county-owned parks or buildings against the spread of COVID-19 through the end of the year.

Commissioners at their most recent meeting also heard County Manager Lloyd Kerr describe his experience with the disease after returning in late October from a weeks-long quarantine because of the disease.

“From a personal standpoint, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” Kerr said. 

The Newton County Commission on Nov. 3 voted to extend an ordinance through Dec. 31 that requires masks or face coverings in all county government buildings and parks.

The ordinance — which applies to county-owned facilities both in unincorporated areas and inside the cities — had expired Oct. 31.

Commissioners on Aug. 18 and Sept. 1 voted to approve the ordinance that requires anyone age 9 and up to wear masks and face coverings.

It applies to the public spaces of any facilities where county employees would interact with the public.

However, it does not apply to any residential properties owned or leased; private property where the owner does not consent to enforcement of the ordinance; public safety workers; medical professionals; and those who object for religious, ethical or health reasons.

It also does not apply to the Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Building that is controlled by the Alcovy Judicial Circuit, officials have said.

Kerr, who has served as county manager since August 2016, said this week he was at home battling the disease for almost three weeks in October.

He said he had been on vacation and began to feel some symptoms of the disease before an Oct. 7 county commission meeting. 

Kerr said he decided not to attend the meeting and tested positive for the disease the following day.

He said he returned to work on Oct. 26 and is still feeling some symptoms of the disease — such as fatigue — that will require a few more weeks to get past.

The county manager briefly described his experience with the disease for commissioners Nov. 3 during his first board meeting following his return.

“Thank you very much for all your thoughts and prayers,” Kerr said.

“I had a very difficult time but I’m a lot better now,” he said. “I still feel a little washed out but looking forward to getting over that real soon.”

Lloyd Kerr
County Manager Lloyd Kerr - photo by Special Photo