Violate stay-at-home order in Gwinnett County? You could pay $1k -- or go to jail

Gwinnett County is cracking down on people who are flaunting not practicing social distancing guidelines.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The Gwinnett County Solicitor announced Tuesday that people who violate the county's stay-at- home order could be fined -- or even sent to jail.

Gwinnett County Solicitor Brian Whiteside said that people caught violating the order could be charged $1,000 or sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Gwinnett's stay-at-home order has a long list of exceptions so people can go to work, get food and do most essential chores.

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Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas was in Gwinnett County, where the reaction to Whiteside’s statement has been strong and swift.

Some people are all for it, saying everything needs to be done to keep people at home as much as possible. Others are saying the move is unconstitutional and beyond crazy.

Thomas talked to Whiteside about his to allow police officers to ticket people or take them to jail.

Whiteside said so far, he hasn’t had to prosecute anyone, but he’s looking at the small few he believes are flaunting the order.

"People were out in the Loganville Park in Gwinnett having organized games for their children," Whitehead said. "These were parents."

Whiteside told Thomas his office took pictures of what they say were nail salons still crowded with people.

"We would not have issued this notice if we thought that that .5% were complying," Whitehead said. "We need 100% to save the lives.

Whitehead said if people question his decision, they should remember that they elected him to protect people.

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Princess Washington and Sidney Wells called their walk along Pleasant Hill Road Tuesday "ghostly."

Neither Washington nor Wells is a fan of Whitehead's plans.

"I don't think it's right to charge people at all," Washington said. "People got kids, they want to go out. They don't want to just be cooped up in the house all day."

"I avoid being out as much as possible, but I feel people should be able to come out as they please," Washington said.

Thomas contacted Gwinnett Police about their policy. A spokesperson said they are simply trying to educate people, but once notified, “we are giving them the opportunity to return home.”

Video surfaced this week of hundreds of teens joining at the park despite coronavirus warnings of social distancing.