Laurens County, Dublin eases COVID restrictions
"It's a step forward but we might have to take two steps back."
DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– After facing a COVID-19 surge for nearly two months, Laurens County is breathing a sigh of relief.
“It’s a step forward but we might have to take two steps back,” said Dublin City Manager, Lance Jones.
The city of Dublin removed its mask requirement on November 2. Now city employees and anyone inside city buildings can choose whether they want to mask up or not.
Jones says this was a big step for Dublin. City council says it will continue following the numbers to determine the next move.
“Whatever the next variant is might hit us hard, and next week I could be putting the mask requirement back in but, I pray not,” Jones stated.
The South Central Health District reports Laurens County has seen a recent increase in its vaccination rate. 43% of the county is fully vaccinated, while 48% have at least one dose.
Melissa Brantley with the health district says she has a positive outlook for the months ahead.
“We’re all thankful for where we are right now,” said Brantley. “Our cases in the hospitals are low, our newly diagnosed cases are really low, and so right now we’re in a really good place going into the holidays.”
As people begin their early holiday shopping in downtown Dublin, one store owner enjoys seeing more faces. Natalie Newsom has been in business for a year now, and has seen several COVID spikes in the community. She hopes shoppers will feel more comfortable and safe going into her store with the relaxed pandemic rules.
“I think that we’re starting to get through to the other side, and that’s good for everybody, it’s good for restaurants, businesses, people, kids, everybody,” Newsom said.
The city says it will continue monitoring COVID-19 numbers, and update the community immediately if anything changes.
Laurens County schools are also easing restrictions. Students no longer have to wear masks in the classroom, but they do still have to wear one on the bus.