Shelter in place ordinance passed by Alpharetta City Council at April 1 emergency meeting, will continue for up to 30 days

Alpharetta City Council members passed an ordinance April 1, which issued an immediate shelter in place order for all city residents for the next 30 days. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)
Alpharetta City Council members passed an ordinance April 1, which issued an immediate shelter in place order for all city residents for the next 30 days. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

Alpharetta City Council members passed an ordinance April 1, which issued an immediate shelter in place order for all city residents for the next 30 days. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

Residents of the city of Alpharetta are now required to shelter in place beginning April 1 for up to 30 days following the passage of an emergency ordinance at the digital Alpharetta City Council emergency meeting April 1. Council members and Mayor Jim Gilvin passed the ordinance unanimously among nearly 300 virtual meeting viewers.

The Fulton County Board of Health also passed an administrative order March 31, directing all Fulton County residents to shelter in place as well. This action by the board triggered council's emergency meeting, said James Drinkard, assistant city administrator for the city of Alpharetta, in a March 31 email. Gov. Brian Kemp also announced a statewide shelter in place executive order will begin Friday, April 3, until April 13.

A shelter-in-place order does not mean residents cannot leave their homes. According to the city's ordinance, residents can leave their homes to work at an essential business, to perform or access essential government functions—which is defined in the ordinance as "any and all services needed to ensure the continuing operation of any governmental agency"—and to perform essential activities.

The city lists essential businesses as:

  • health care operations including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, mental health providers, home health care services providers and health care suppliers

  • grocery stores, farmers markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores and other establishments engaged in retail sale of canned food, dry goods, beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, poultry and any other household consumer products

  • food cultivation, including livestock, farming and fishing

  • businesses that provide food, shelter, social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals

  • newspapers, television, radio and other media services

  • gas stations and auto supply, auto repair and related facilities

  • banks and related financial institutions

  • hardware stores

  • lodging businesses such as hotels, motels, conference centers but only as necessary for providing shelter and not for non-essential gatherings

  • plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, essential businesses and essential activities

  • businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes

  • educational institutions

  • laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers

  • restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for drive thru, delivery or carryout services

  • cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes or similar facilities

  • businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home

  • businesses 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

  • home-based care for seniors, adults or children

  • residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults and children

  • professional services such as legal or accounting services

  • veterinary care facilities

  • animal shelters or animal care or management and crematories

  • bike shops

  • childcare facilities

  • janitorial services

  • funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries, provided that funeral services shall be ordered to ensure safe social distancing

  • utility, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, railroads, public transportation, taxi, rideshare programs, solid waste collection and removal, internet and telecommunications systems


Essential activities as listed in the ordinance include:


  • tasks essential to an individual or family member's health and safety, including pets

  • tasks obtaining necessary services and supplies for themselves, their family or household and to deliver those services or supplies to others

  • outdoor activities provided safe social distancing guidelines are met

  • performing work for essential businesses or obtaining products or services from essential businesses

  • caring for a person who is medically fragile or a family member or pet in another household

  • engaging in essential governmental functions


The ordinance also authorizes the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety to enforce this order and allows law enforcement to assess penalties for those who do not comply with the order, but still following city and state laws. However, the ordinance states DPS and other departments of the city are authorized to support enforcement of the order through information delivery and education regarding COVID-19.

"I want to reassure you, that I know this sounds severe. But if you really look through this, we don't see a tremendous amount of difference in how this should affect most of your daily lives. You still have the opportunity to go out in your yard, drive around and go do things that you need to do," Gilvin said during the meeting. "We have no intention of putting up road blocks and questioning people about where they're going and things like that, but unfortunately, there have been a few citizens and businesses that really haven't put forth a very good effort in trying to help protect the public in this crisis."


The ordinance can last up to 30 days and will be automatically repealed after that time limit unless council members decide to reenact or extend it for another 30 days.

The full ordinance is below:
By Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the reporter for north Houston's Tomball/Magnolia edition in September 2018, moving to Alpharetta in January 2020 after a promotion to be the editor of the Alpharetta/Milton edition, which is Community Impact's first market in Georgia.