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Fines could be levied if you violate COVID-19 quarantine

If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and you are out in public in Greenville, you’ll likely get a ticket that carries a $500 fine.

Police Chief Justin Lovvorn said earlier this week that as the number of cases of the disease continue to grow during the pandemic, officials are concerned with people who are contagious and know it, but still violate the quarantine.

“If you are tested, you must continue to self-isolate at home until you get your test results as well,” Lovvorn said Thursday. “If citizens do not follow the self quarantine guidelines once tested, they will be ticketed. If they continue to not quarantine and follow the health guidelines after receiving a ticket, they will face jail time.”

Lovvorn said social distancing is important for the prevention of the spread of contagious illnesses such as COVID-19, which can be spread through coughing, sneezing and close contact.

“If we minimize the amount of close contact we have with others, we reduce our chances of catching and spreading the virus to our loved ones and our community,” he said.

Lovvorn added that the police department has received reports of people who have tested positive being out in the community.

“I don’t think they realize that they can be fined just like being out after curfew,” he said. “It’s the same fine – $500 and continual violations will put you in jail. We’re in a spot right now where our numbers are not where they should be. We’re getting a lot more per day than what we want to see. Until we can turn that around, we need to tighten up on this.”

As of Friday morning, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported that Butler County had 158 positive cases and two deaths. A total of 609 tests have been administered.

Lovvorn said though the GPD isn’t seeing many parties and large gatherings, they do hear about them.

“A lot of them are behind closed doors and unless someone makes a complaint or tells us, we’re not going in and knocking on doors and checking people,” Lovvorn said. “If we see a large crowd out in the park or playing basketball or something like that, we deal with it as we see it.”

Often these gatherings lead to the spread of the virus, according to Lovvorn.

“We’ve heard about situations where they’ve had way too many people there – or what you would call a party and we don’t get notified until after the fact,” he said. “We need people if they know it’s going on so we can check on it before everyone there is affected or infected. Somebody might have it and be there; it happens. I can relate that when some of the numbers started to rise it went back to a party someone had out in their front yard with a blow up slide – I guess a kids party. They had like 20-30 people out there. We got notified or came up on it and we dispersed them. It wasn’t a week later that the person that actually lives in that residence came back positive and then about 10 people that were also at that party tested positive. That’s just one example. They (people) may think it’s frustrating and there’s no point to it, but there’s obviously a point to it. That’s a perfect example of why we need to keep this going for a little while longer, so we can bring down these numbers.”

The curfew is in effect until May 15, however, Lovvorn said it could be extended. The current curfew is between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

“That doesn’t mean it’s canceled then, it means we reevaluate it,” Lovvorn concluded. “If it appears to be where we want it to and the governor eases up on some restrictions then it’s possible we won’t renew it.”