John Howard

John Howard speaks at the Chamber Luncheon entitled, "State of the Cities."

MONROE, Ga. — Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned in the city of Monroe.

Mayor John Howard signed a 72-hour emergency order Saturday night and said he would sign a series of three-day orders until the City Council meets again in April.

The mayor’s actions come after a large gathering in a city neighborhood was videoed and circulated on social media. Police were called to a report of a fight, but the gathering broke up when officers arrived.

Howard’s emergency order notes that the city has received evidence of people failing to respond to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to practice social distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order prohibits all gatherings of 10 or more people on public streets, rights of way, private yards or the fenced-in areas around private homes.

Exceptions are made for “an individual or a group’s exercise of their First Amendment rights” and if such group event “maintains proper social distancing protocols.”

The City Council on Thursday declined to impose a curfew, which the Georgia Municipal Association had urged all cities to adopt.

Georgia had 2,446 cases as of COVID-19 as of 7 p.m. Thursday, with 79 people having died from it. There were 660 people hospitalized.

Walton County had two confirmed cases.