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Georgia Governor Is Preparing an Order For Residents to ‘Shelter in Place’

Governor Brian Kemp expects to sign the order tomorrow and also closed schools for the rest of the term

The Atlanta skyline from the Jackson Street Bridge Ryan Fleisher
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for over 12 years.

In a 4 p.m. press conference on Wednesday, April 1, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says he’s preparing a statewide shelter-in-place order to go into effect Friday, April 3, through at least Monday, April 13. He also closed K-12 schools in the state through the end of the semester in May.

Kemp previously mandated the closure of bars and nightclubs across the state, through Monday, April 6, closed schools until April 24, and ordered medically fragile people to shelter in place until April 7.

Known data from the CDC and NIH director Dr. Anthony Fauci concerning asymptomatic people spreading the virus and leading to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Georgia were a “game changer” for Kemp, who says in the press conference he had just discovered this information. Further details on the shelter-in-place order will be provided to the public on Thursday. The order is expected to feature exceptions, including allowing restaurants to continue operating with takeout and delivery.

“To stop the spread, we must practice social distancing. To mitigate the risk, it is best that you stay home,” he says. According to state medical officials, Georgia could see a peak in COVID-19 cases by April 23. Kemp is advising people to continue social distancing through the end of May.

“We have to hunker down and chop a lot of wood,” Kemp says, who tells Georgians to “hang in there” during these “unprecedented times.”

The governor also gave a shoutout to Atlanta’s Old 4th Distillery on Edgewood Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward for producing and selling hand sanitizer to the public, which is in short supply around the state.

Earlier in the day, the Fulton County Board of Health ordered residents of the county to “shelter in place” at their homes, effective immediately, and until further notice. This includes the majority of city of Atlanta, which is already under a “stay-at-home” order enacted by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms last week. Some of the city’s eastern neighborhoods reside in Dekalb County.

The administrative order is signed by Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, the interim district health director, and imposes a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail if violated, and prohibits private or public gatherings of any size, outside members of a single household.

As of 12 p.m., Wednesday, April 1, there are 4,638 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, with 139 reported deaths. The next update takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

*Please practice safe and respectful social distancing measures via CDC guidelines by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other people, not gathering in groups, and not sitting on restaurant patios to eat. Stay home if sick.

Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for guidance and twice-daily updates on the latest number of reported COVID-19 cases.