Jonah’s roped off its outdoor seating after the city barred dining at restaurants. (Photo/Diane Glidewell)

Forsyth city council ordered all restaurants to cease dine-in service immediately on Friday at its second emergency meeting last week. Council had resisted doing so at another called meeting two days earlier. But on Friday, with almost no discussion, council unanimously approved an emergency declaration recommended by the Georgia Municipal Association that included the ban on dining in. The move came as the state reported Monroe County got its fourth case of Coronavirus on Tuesday.

The city made just one exception to the GMA guideline as Forsyth did not enact a curfew. While the city halted dining in it is allowing restaurants with licenses to sell beer and wine for consumption on site to sell unopened bottles or cans for take-out for the duration of the declaration since that is coupled with ending dine-in service.

Council members Mike Dodd, Chris Hewett and Melvin Lawrence were present in person at the council meeting, as were Mayor Eric Wilson, city attorney Bobby Melton, city manager Janice Hall and city clerk Regina Ivie. Council members Julius Stroud, John Howard and Greg Goolsby participated in the meeting via Zoom, but, unlike the Wednesday meeting, they interacted with other council members by personal cell phones instead of being projected on a screen for a general audience. 

“All of these places don’t have drive-throughs,” said Hewett, referring to the restaurant closures.

Wilson said the ordinance allows carry-out service so that customers can walk inside the restaurants to pick up up orders as long as they stay 6 feet away from everyone. 

Wilson said Forsyth Police would immediately notify all affected businesses of the declaration and he would make a video for the city to post telling everyone about it, and the city would post the declaration on its website.

Lawrence asked if council had any role in informing the public about the ordinance. Wilson said council would not be involved in enforcement of the ordinance, but council members should tell anyone who asks about what the city approved. 

The meeting adjourned after 10 minutes.