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The City of Athens called a special meeting of the city council on Thursday afternoon to pass a Resolution amending the City of Athens Disaster Declaration issued on March 23, 2020 due to the imminent threat to Public Health and Safety as a result of the spread of the coronavirus.

"We're just saying we're adhering to the governor's order," Mayor Monte Montgomery said.

During a news conference at the capitol on Tuesday, Abbott stopped short of calling his order a "shelter in place" but in an interview said it brings Texas in line with states that have issued such orders.

Montgomery said the amended order states that a local disaster is declared for Athens and that the City of Athens Declaration Plan incorporates Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order that took effect on Thursday.

All individuals currently living within the City of Athens are directed to shelter at their place of residence. For the purposes of this Order, residences include hotels, motels, shared rentals, and similar facilities. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must, at all times, as reasonably as possible maintain social distancing as specified by Center for Disease Control.

The City of Athens will close all City Parks to group activities and the use of playground equipment will not be allowed. Walking paths and outdoor space will remain open with social distancing requirements as outlined by the CDC.

The order states penalties for failure to comply with the emergency plan. A violation is an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both fine and confinement.

"A lot of citizens are demanding this "shelter in place" and we're basically there with this emergency directive," Montgomery said.

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