On Thursday, April 2, Gov. Brian Kemp issued a shelter-in-place order that will go into effect at 6 p.m. Friday, April 3.
The order will last until 11:59 p.m., April 13 and mandates Georgia residents to remain home in hopes to slow the spread of COVID-19. Residents must shelter-in-place unless: conducting or participating in essential services, performing necessary travel, traveling to and from work, and are considered to be a part of “critical infrastructure.”
What does this mean?
Residents can go to the store, doctor’s appointments and the pharmacy. Residents can only have food delivered or ordered for take-out or curbside pick-up. Residents can go outside for exercise and for emergencies.
Residents are still being asked to follow the social distancing guideline of keeping six feet between individuals.
What does essential services mean?
Gov. Kemp’s order defines essential services as:
• Obtaining necessary supplies and services for household members
• Engaging in activities essential for health and safety of household members
• Engaging in outdoor exercise so long as a minimum distance of six feet is maintained during such activities between all persons who are not occupants of the same household or residence.
The order did close in person operations for non-essential businesses including:
• Fitness centers
• Bowling allies
• Live performance venues
• Amusement parks
• Dine-in areas for restaurants
• Hair salons/barbers
• Tattoo/piercing parlors
• Cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, and nail care schools
• Nail salons
• Massage therapists
“Preference should be given to online ordering, home delivery, and curbside pick-up services wherever possible as opposed to in-store shopping,” the order reads.
The order did not address church services directly, although many churches throughout the state have already closed or moved to online services.
What is considered critical infrastructure?
• Health-care sectors
• Legal service providers
• Law enforcement
• First responders
• Public transportation
• Food and agriculture
• Energy and essential governmental services
• Suppliers which provide essential goods and services for the critical infrastructure workforce.
For those businesses that can remain open, the order requires certain rules and procedures be followed including washing hands, health screenings, telework when possible, and prohibit unnecessary person-to-person contact.
How will the order be enforced?
“Any person who violets this Order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,” the order reads. “Officials enforcing this Order should take reasonable steps to provide notice prior to issuing a citation or making an arrest.”
The order will be left to the Georgia State Patrol posts plus the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to provide enforcement.
The Department of Public Health will have the authority to close any business that does not comply with the order.