MOULTRIE, Ga. — Late this morning, Moultrie Mayor Bill McIntosh announced a curfew that will take effect tonight and a suspension of alcohol licenses that will take effect immediately. Both are in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The license suspension affects only the sale for on-premises consumption, McIntosh said in a Facebook video posted about 11:30 a.m.

He said the city had received a report of large gatherings over the weekend, one with about 100 people or more. Coronavirus is spread by personal contact, so recommendations have been to avoid such gatherings because they allow more people to become infected.

“It’s not necessarily the alcohol,” McIntosh said, “but [alcohol] was the magnet that brought people together.”

The license suspension is through Sunday, March 29, and McIntosh said he hopes it will not need to be extended.

The curfew begins at 9 p.m. and lasts until 6 a.m. each day, starting tonight. McIntosh did not establish an end-date for it in his address.

Exceptions will be made for first responders, health workers and employees going to and from work, he said.

Violations will result in a non-custodial arrest and a fine, he said. He did not say how much the fine would be. A non-custodial arrest is a detention and release with a summons to court, such as police use with a traffic ticket or a misdemeanor arrest that doesn’t result in someone being taken to jail.

The city hall lobby is closed. McIntosh said the drive-through window is open for payments, and city staff is working adapt two other windows to allow for payment to be made through them without customers entering the building.

The police department lobby is also closed to the public. Non-emergency calls will be handled by telephone, he said, but emergency calls will be dispatched just as they have been. Anyone who needs a copy of a police report can call the police department at 229-985-3131 and one will be faxed or mailed.

“These folks are open but we have to change part of our daily routine to protect all of us,” McIntosh said.

The mayor said the city has not declared a state of emergency because it wouldn’t actually change anything.

“There’s nothing we can do different if we did declare a state of emergency,” he said.

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