On Thursday evening, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp released the details of the state’s mandatory “shelter-in-place” order, which goes into effect at 6 p.m. Friday, April 3, and runs through Monday, April 13. Kemp announced his intentions to enact a shelter-in-place order during a press conference on Wednesday.
Like Atlanta’s stay-at-home order and Fulton County’s mandatory shelter-in-place order, the statewide mandate permits people to continue with outdoor exercise activities and walking their pets and can leave their homes for essential medical appointments, to gas up their cars, or to procure necessary food and supplies. Social distancing of six feet or more must be adhered to in public, when not with members of a single household.
The state’s order bans dine-in service at restaurants, but allows restaurants to remain open for takeout and delivery with new health and safety requirements in place. Those include screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms, like registering a fever of at least 100.4 degrees or having a dry cough or shortness of breath, providing staff with protective items such as face masks and gloves, and posting hand-washing and hygiene guidelines at the entrance to and around the business. Restaurants and businesses must also provide contact-free payment options and an “alternative for points of sale outside of buildings including curbside pick-up or delivery of products and/or services.”
Although not specifically listed, it appears liquor, beer, and wine stores can remain open if following strict social distancing measures with employees and the required health, safety, and hygiene procedures laid out in the state order.
Anyone who violates the order will be charged with a misdemeanor, and the governor is also deputizing sheriffs from around the state with the authority to close businesses not in compliance. However, no specifics on how those violations would be enforced or whether a violation results in jail time or a hefty fine were provided. For instance, violators of the Fulton County order would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. But it seems the state’s order overrides similar mandates previously in place from cities and counties around Georgia.
Kemp previously mandated the closure of bars and nightclubs across the state, closed K-12 schools through the end of the term, and ordered medically fragile people to shelter in place.
Known data from the CDC and NIH director Dr. Anthony Fauci concerning asymptomatic people spreading the virus in Georgia was a “game changer” for Kemp, which he says lead him to mandate residents to shelter in place. In Wednesday’s press conference, the governor claimed he had just discovered the information regarding asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers.
As of 7 p.m., Thursday, April 2, there are 5,444 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, with 176 reported deaths. The next update takes place on April 3 a 12 p.m.
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.