COVID-19 UPDATES - FAQ FOR BUSINESSES
• Is this mandatory or is it just for guidance?
• Why are we doing this?
• How long is the ordinance in effect?
• What types of businesses are considered essential?
• I have read the full City of Rome “Shelter in Place” order and I am still not sure if my business is considered “Essential”, how can I find out?
• What if my business is not considered an essential business?
• Is there financial assistance available to businesses?
• Can The City of Rome divert funds from SPLOST projects to support low-paid workers or businesses?
• Are churches, places of worship, and religious services considered essential?
• Are gun stores and places that sell guns considered essential?
• Are businesses located outside of the City of Rome limits, but located in Floyd County subject to the ordinance?
• Where can I find a copy of the City of Rome 2nd Declaration of State of Emergency “Shelter in Place” Order?
• What if I have additional questions that aren’t answered here?
Is this mandatory or is it just for guidance?
Mandatory. It is critical for everyone to follow the emergency order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their loved ones, and our community. All persons, businesses, and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the ordinance.
Why are we doing this?
This is a critical intervention to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Rome. The ordinance is designed to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, in order to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the maximum extent possible. While this news may feel alarming, it is a necessary step to prevent a worsening situation and not overwhelm our healthcare system. The patterns of the virus around the world, and in our own state, tell us that moving right now to maximize social distancing and restrict people gathering is the best way to fight the virus and help ensure that our healthcare networks are not overwhelmed.
How long is the ordinance in effect?
March 24, 2020 at 5 p.m. and will continue to be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020, (unless changed by further action of the City Commission)
What types of businesses are considered essential?
Essential businesses may remain open, but should follow social distancing requirements that include maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.
These are some categories of businesses considered essential:
• Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure, Pharmacies, and Drug Stores
• Grocery stores, certified farmers' markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other groceries
• Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing
• Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals
• Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services
• Auto sales, gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities
• Banks and related financial institutions
• Hardware stores
• Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, contractors, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to constructing and maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses
• Businesses providing mailing and shipping services
• Educational institutions
• Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers
• Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public, but only for carry out.
• Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
• Businesses or manufacturers that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate
• Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences
• Airlines, taxis, car rental services, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities
• Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children
• Residential facilities including hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities and shelters
• Professional services, such as legal, accounting services, real estate services
• Unless otherwise preempted by state law, childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted.
• All businesses which possess a retail liquor package license; retail beer package license; or retail wine package license
• Manufacturers, Distribution Centers, Food Processors, Food Product manufacturers, any member of the Greater Rome Existing Industry Association
A more detailed list of businesses considered essential is available here.
I have read the full City of Rome “Shelter in Place” order and I am still not sure if my business is considered “Essential”, how can I find out?
Call the City of Rome: 706-236-4400
What if my business is not considered an essential business?
Businesses are allowed to perform “Minimum Basic Operations" provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements to maintain a distance of six feet from one another to the greatest extent feasible to carrying out:
• The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business's inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
• The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
Is there financial assistance available to businesses?
• The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering assistance focused on many small business needs for continuity of operations including access to economic injury disaster loans. Details are available at SBA.gov/Disaster
• The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is providing online access to unemployment services, partial claim access for employers, and other reemployment services. Details on filing for unemployment for both employers and employees is available at: https://dol.georgia.gov/
• Many private companies are offering payment/debt relief for services. The Rome Floyd Chamber has collated this information and is keeping it updated as a community resource available at: https://www.romega.com/business-triage
Can The City of Rome divert funds from SPLOST projects to support low-paid workers or businesses?
No. The SPLOST laws provide that SPLOST funds can only be used to fund Capital Improvement Projects. Further, the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that the governing authority is obliged to use proceeds from the SPLOST for the projects approved in the referendum by the voters.
Are churches, places of worship, and religious services considered essential?
They are not addressed in the ordinance, however, they should comply with the social distancing recommendation of no more than ten (10) people at a time inside the premises. Additionally, use of video and/or online services is strongly encouraged.
Are businesses located outside of the City of Rome limits, but located in Floyd County subject to the ordinance?
Businesses located outside the city limits of Rome are not subject to the Rome City Commission 2nd Declaration of State of Emergency, as the Declaration only applies to properties inside the corporate limits of the City of Rome, Georgia.
Floyd County has a separate Emergency Administrative Order: View Order
What if I have additional questions that aren’t answered here?
Call the City of Rome: 706-236-4400
This FAQ will be continually updated.