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Sheriff Alexander on governor’s pandemic order: ‘We don’t want to arrest anybody’

Following strong public response regarding Gov. Bill Lee’s “stay at home” order – some in favor of it and some against – Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander said Friday he feels it important to try to shed further light on the situation.
“We’re not going to be stopping people as they drive down the street. We’re not going to be stopping cars at the county line. We are trying to help slow the spread of this virus by following the governor’s order to limit groups of people gathering,” Alexander said.
He added, “As the governor said, enforcement measures will only be used as a last and final option, and we don’t want to arrest anybody. We don’t want to fine anybody. But I want people to know that we have that option, even if it’s one we don’t want to use.”
Alexander noted there are many exceptions to the stay home order, listed as “essential activities.” He urged people to use reason and common sense when making decisions on venturing outside, and remember the reason for Lee’s order in the first place.
To give some clarity to the question, and rather than try to give an example of every possible exception, the sheriff gave examples of where a fine might be issued or a person arrested.
“If there’s a bunch of people gathered at a park having a barbecue, or a bunch of pickup trucks in a parking lot with a group of people shootin’ the breeze, and a deputy drives by, he’s going to stop and instruct them to disperse and go home. If he comes back through a half an hour later and they’re still there – that may result in citations or maybe even arrests,” Alexander said.
“It’s about trying to limit non-essential group gatherings,” he said, “not trying to stop every single person and demanding to know where they’re going or what they’re doing.”
Alexander said the intent is to use reason and common sense when making decisions on traveling out in public, and having not only your individual safety in mind, but also the safety of the community. Hardin Medical Center CEO Nick Lewis said much the same in an interview with The Courier on Wednesday.
“At this moment, it’s not about ‘you.’ It’s about what you as an individual decides to do right now that affects the lives and health of everyone else,” Lewis said.
Lewis encourages people to ask themselves when venturing out whether the trip is for something they need to do, or something they just want to do.
“Every time anyone goes out into public, whether they realize it or not, they increase the probability of becoming infected, but more importantly, of infecting others because they might not know that they’re infected. So is that trip really that important? Because you’re making the decision to take the risk for yourself, but you’re also making the decision for others who may come in contact with you; grocery store cashiers and clerks working to make sure food supplies stay open, police officers, medical staff; what you decide to do affects so many others,” he said.
Alexander said anyone with questions can call the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department at 925-3377.
To read the governor’s order, click here:


  1. Linda Melson on April 3, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Can my husband, myself, and our 2 teenagers that live together in our house go fishing or just walking in the woods if we are not around other people?

    • michael on April 3, 2020 at 6:10 pm

      You and your family can fish. The order allows for outdoor activity as long as you can practice social distancing rules. Those include fishing, riding around, walking, etc.

  2. Alfred on April 3, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Yes Mrs Melson. You can. Nothing has changed. No large groups of people. Thats it

  3. Paulette on April 3, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Where is the law so crowded Walmart full of families with kids running wild..I kept my grandbabies so my daughter could go get food
    One person per family..I’m so praying our little county dont get crushed with Covid 19

    • R on April 3, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      That’s All fine and dandy saying one person per family venturing out. But what about these single parents out here that does not have someone to watch their children. Someone may offer but If the parent doesn’t trust them enough to watch their kid then that’s probably why their kids are with them in the store too

  4. Pam Stricklin on April 3, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    I guess they will up the order AFTER they find 20 more cases in our county..Then it’ll be to late.

  5. Diane on April 3, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    I live in Hardin County and the people in this county has always and I mean ALWAYS, came together to make things happen for the better so I hope everyone in this county continues to do just that.

  6. George on April 3, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    My wife and I have been self quarantined for three weeks. We are both disabled but can drive. The road we normally take to town was destroyed by a landslide making it difficult but possible to make the trip to Savannah for medicine and food shoping once every two or three weeks. To spread out the number of people that do food shop, Kroger, Save-a-Lot, Piiggly Wiggley, and WalMart should consider remaining open 24/7. Many people could then shop for essentials between midnight and 7 am. That would reduce human contact.

  7. Shirley shambaugh on April 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

    So it’s ok to go to park to walk my dog, just the two of us?

  8. Sandra McLin on April 4, 2020 at 10:10 am

    I feel that the public knowing who the ones are that have it should be essential! I’ve heard about privacy but in a case like this I feel we need to know. I think it would help the public to keep this from spreading as much if we could know!

  9. Ruggles McButt on April 5, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Who the heck do you think you are telling me when and where I can go? Your qualified immunity goes out the door Sheriff when you violate my Constitutional rights. Make damn sure the Constitution is suspended before you attempt any more arrests.

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