Cairo chief urges residents to follow new rules on gatherings

Submitted photoPolice say this photo taken at Holder Park on Monday night shows a gathering of more than 10 people

CAIRO — The Cairo Police Department is warning residents to abide by an emergency order issued last week mandating that residents avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

Interim police chief Giovannie Santos said CPD has received complaints of individuals congregating at city parks and engaging in outdoor activities that have been restricted in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In one Monday night incident, a group of more than one dozen people gathered at a basketball court at Holder Park.

Santos said the individuals at Holder Park dispersed on their own and did not face any disciplinary action.

Local officials representing Grady County and the cities of Cairo and Whigham approved an emergency order late last week. Though the order defines certain outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running and bicycling as “essential activities,” residents are still mandated to abide by social distancing guidelines.

“We urge the community to remember that, although outdoor activity has not been barred, individuals shall not engage in activities which result in the congregation of 10 or more persons,” Santos said.

That also means maintaining a six-foot distance from others while engaged in activities. A shelter-in-place order is also in effect between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily.

Failure to comply with the order could result in a fine of up to $295 and up to one year in jail.

“The Cairo Police Department’s goal has always been the safety of our community, and to this with a sincere understanding,” Santos said. “(These) restrictions may be difficult to adhere to, but at this time they are the best defense available to the community as a whole.”

Grady County received confirmation of its first two positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

The emergency order will remain in effect through April 13.

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