The city of Forsyth has issued a stay-at-home order that is punishable by a fine of $199 or by imprisonment of up to 10 days. The new ordinance, which only allows residence to leave their homes for essential activity goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

The Forsyth Board of Aldermen held an emergency meeting at 4 p.m. Saturday to consider the ordinance. It came two days after the aldermen had agreed to a collaborative resolution with Taney County, the Taney County Health Department, and several other cities and fire departments that “strongly encouraged” residents to stay at home except for essential activity. The Taney County Commission approved the proclamation on Friday.

The proclamation approved by the Forsyth aldermen on Saturday is substantially the same as the one approved by the county on Friday, except the inclusion of a fine or jail term for violating the stay-at-home order.

Essential activities include obtaining services or supplies, engaging in outdoor activity (such as hiking, biking and walking), performing work at an essential business, care for a family member or close acquaintance, or engaging in tasks essential to health and safety.

The proclamation includes a long list of essential businesses, including health care, construction, grocery stores and restaurants, utilities, freight transportation, gas stations, lodging, legal and financial services, lawn and landscaping services, building supplies, laundry service, childcare facilities and firearms sales.

The ordinance also allows “’Minimum Basic Operations’ of otherwise non-essential businesses,” providing employees practice proper social distancing. The physical distancing requirements include maintaining a six-foot distance, washing hands, regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.

The penalty portion of the ordinance is below:

“Any person who shall violate this Section shall upon conviction or plea of guilty be fined not more than one hundred ninety-nine dollars ($199.00), or sentenced to a term of imprisonment for up to ten days, or both.”

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