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City, County gyms to remain closed
Shuman Center

Recreation gyms in Liberty County and Hinesville will stay closed for now despite Gov. Brian Kemp’s order allowing certain businesses to reopen as soon as Friday, County Administrator Joey Brown said Wednesday during a Facebook livestream COVID-19 update.

 “There are a few areas of the parks that remain open, James Brown Park is an example of that,” Brown said. “I think it is important to note that the governor does not control recreational venues as owned by counties and or cities so our gyms will remain closed. That is the desire and belief of our local officials at this point.”

Hinesville City Manager Kenny Howard added officials are looking at options so they can open Bryant Commons Park. But for now it remains closed.

“We had discussions with the county, and we will collaborate with them on the best way to do that,” Howard said.

Brown and Howard are asking business owners to only open if it is extremely necessary and only if they can do so under the guidelines released by Kemp. Both men said that local law enforcement will be enforcing Centers for Disease Control social distancing guidelines as well as the new mandatory guidelines for opening what were previously classified as non-essential businesses.

“Business owners you are a member of this community,” Howard said. “Your employees are members of this community. And more than likely your clients are from this community. Please do not put these people at risk. Open strictly under compliance. Be we ask you all to stay the course for now. Those numbers (of confirmed COVID-19 cases) are numbers, but those numbers are also individuals.”

Howard added that Liberty County’s numbers may be lower than other areas across the state. But he said that is likely because Hinesville took swift action beginning March 21 to stop or slow the spread of coronavirus. But he also noted there has been insufficient testing within the county so the number of residents who may have or have had COVID is likely much higher.

“We feel it is not time to let our guard down,” Howard said. “We should continue to stay the course. If we continue to do what we’ve been doing, we will overcome this. We ask that you continue to shelter in place.”

In order to drive home the message, Liberty County Commission Chair Donald Lovette said two of his cousins have lost their husbands to COVID adding it is a serious issue folks should not take lightly.

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