City manager stands behind Griffin’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force


Griffin City Manager Kenny Smith stands firmly behind the officers assigned to the city’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force.

Despite online complaints by some local business owners and residents, Smith said the Task Force has his support in ongoing efforts to mitigate potential negative affect of the novel coronavirus.

“I am one of 22 members of the Georgia Municipal Association advisory committee related to COVID-19, and I have heard the voice of the city manager in Albany and other officials throughout the state,” Smith said. “I have heard the voices of Albany officials and others who are in terrible positions and I’m doing everything I can to prevent that here.”

Smith reiterated that his goal is clear.

“I’m doing everything I can to prevent Griffin from becoming a hotspot,” he said. “I’m taking the Governor’s directives seriously. The governor has said that if people are going to open, this is what they’re going to do, and that’s what they’re going to do.”

He did acknowledge having received input from those who are concerned about the Enforcement Task Force’s.

“I’ve gotten calls and emails about people’s concerns,” he said.

When asked about business owners who have reported Enforcement Task Force visits multiple times in one business day, Smith said, “I haven’t been called on by any, so the Task Force, the guys that have been assigned to do that, they could have possibly been in one business more than once in one day. And there’s no reason they shouldn’t. Just because you’re  in compliance now doesn’t mean you will be in 15 minutes.”

The COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force is comprised of four city employees – two each from the Griffin Police Department and Griffin Fire-Rescue – the fire marshal and fire inspector, specifically.

Smith said all four were thoroughly trained on guidelines established by Governor Brian Kemp. He described those guidelines as “voluminous.”

“This was not some willy-nilly group going out halfcocked. It was a group of reasonable and mature officers who were thoroughly trained,” Smith said. “They were to go out and train and enforce.”

He also responded to one complaint expressed on social media stating that a Task Force member declined to allow a local salon to check his temperature when he arrived to inspect the business.

“They take their temperature every morning before they start out. We have them checked at the beginning of the day, so no, they weren’t going to have their temperature checked every time they walked into a business,” Smith said. “I wasn’t going to make them be checked every time they walked in a business.”

He said he did not believe such measures were necessary.

“I don’t know if the governor’s order said salons had to check temperatures. I know gyms did, but not salons…best I can recall, salons were not required to by the governor’s order,” he said.

Smith then reviewed the Kemp’s guidelines regarding temperature checks.

“The governor’s order does not say about salons checking temperatures,” he confirmed.

One other concern he addressed is the allegation that local Task Force members are requiring businesses conform to requirements that exceed Kemp’s directives, namely requiring spacing of workstations ten feet apart rather than the six feet at least one salon owner stated was required.

After checking that guideline, Smith said Task Force members are correct in requiring distancing of ten feet as that is the distance required by the Governor’s directive.

Smith said the city’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force will continue to inspect local businesses for the immediate future but did not have a precise guideline for how long they may continue.

“I’m not sure At least through the end of the Governor’s order, but we’ll see before this order expires,” he said. “They’re working all hours, seven days a week. Not 24 hours, they’re working staggered hours. It just depends on whose out at the time. Whenever businesses are open is when we’re out there. We’re basically out there from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. when businesses are open, but they’re subject to be there any time,” he said, adding that the Task Force is not unfairly targeting smaller, locally-owned businesses. “We’re being consistent across the board with all businesses based on the governor’s orders.
Naturally, Walmart, Lowes and Home depot are bigger facilities, so more people can be in there. Most mom and pop businesses square footage is smaller. We’re enforcing fairly based on the square footage of the business.”

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  1. The city manager needs to be run out of town. Between this fiasco and his comments and intention on making Griffin impassible to force Gdot to change 155, he’s horrible for the city.

  2. Kathryn Cleveland says:

    According to the CDC weekly mortality statistics, total mortality rates so far this year have been normal. So where are all the “pandemic” deaths?

  3. ROY BATTY says:

    This is what tyranny looks like. You are being bankrupted because of a flu. Your rights are being stolen and you are being trained to be a slave. Those who trade freedom for security get, and deserve, neither.

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