Hundreds of Georgia university students have been seen partying without masks and failing to social distance ahead of the college’s reopening.
Not even Covid-19 could stop the hordes of raucous students partying the night away on Saturday, the weekend before classes are due to resume at the University of North Georgia.
Video footage shows the crowds of students as they filed onto a street outside one of the off-campus residences.
Hundreds of students turned out for the boozy night while many of them appeared not to be wearing facial coverings.
No other precautions were apparently being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
It comes as coronavirus cases continue to spread across the country, with Georgia reporting 3,372 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 96 deaths Saturday.
On Sunday, state officials announced 1,873 new confirmed cases and 33 deaths, bringing the state’s total to 237,030 cases and 4,702 deaths.
The university’s executive director of communications, Sylvia Carson, told CNN: ‘We are disappointed that many of our students chose to ignore Covid-19 public health guidance by congregating in a large group without social distancing or face coverings.
‘The University of North Georgia continues to emphasize to our students and university community that everyone has an individual responsibility both on and off campus to follow guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC to prevent the spread of the virus.’
The University of North Georgia states that masks must be worn inside its buildings and facilities, but there are no rules for off-campus areas.
Georgia’s governor has opposed local mask mandates but recently signed a new executive order that allows local governments to enact mask requirements to help fight the coronavirus pandemic
As with previous orders, the one issued Saturday says residents and visitors of the state are ‘strongly encouraged’ to wear face coverings when they are outside of their homes, except when eating, drinking or exercising outside.
But unlike previous orders, this one allows local governments in counties that have reached a ‘threshold requirement’ to require the wearing of masks on government-owned property.
A county meets that threshold requirement if it has had 100 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over the previous 14 days.
Only two of Georgia’s 159 counties were below that threshold, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.
Local mask mandates cannot result in fines, fees or penalties against private businesses or organizations, and penalties against individuals for non-compliance cannot included a fine greater than $50 and cannot include prison time, the order says.