Gov. Kemp Extends Georgia's Shelter In Place: Coronavirus

Andrea V. Watson

ATLANTA, GA — Georgia’s shelter-in-place order has been extended through the end of April, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday afternoon. Kemp first ordered a shelter in place for April 3 through April 13. The news of the extension was shared hours after the governor renewed a public health emergency declaration.

Under state law, the governor can renew the emergency, which was otherwise set to expire on April 13.

The new executive order also prevents people from staying in short-term vacation rentals beginning Thursday.

The order calls for senior care facilities to prohibit most visitors too. Residents will now have to eat in their rooms. There will also be mandatory screenings for fevers and respiratory issues, Kemp said.

One-thousand additional National Guard members will also be deployed.

Kemp shared that the Sandy Springs-based firm, Ipsum Diagnostics, will conduct thousands of additional tests a week. Results can be ready within 24 hours, he said.

Regarding state parks and beaches, Kemp said that law enforcement is monitoring them and that he'll only shut them down if needed. Right now the fresh air and exercise is important for people he said.

The public health emergency extension comes after Georgia saw its largest single-day increase in deaths due to coronavirus on Tuesday, when numbers released by the Georgia Department of Public Health at noon showed 329 deaths, an increase of 100 from Monday at noon.

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As of Wednesday at noon, there have been 9,156 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia, 1,899 hospitalized and 348 deaths. This is an increase of 19 new deaths, 125 new hospitalizations and 338 new cases since Tuesday at noon.

On March 14, Kemp first declared a public health state of emergency to deploy additional resources and give the department of public health authority to direct specific healthcare action against the spread of COVID-19.

"As part of this state of emergency, I have authorized new processes for temporary licensure of out-of-state doctors and nurses, and I have authorized the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency to coordinate with the Georgia National Guard to call up as many as 2,000 troops to assist in emergency response," Kemp said last month.

Under the order, everyone except essential workers must remain home, and should not leave unless they are gathering to get important supplies, food, or see a doctor. Residents can also go out on walks or jogs but must keep at least six feet away from each other.

Anyone who violates the shelter-in-place order can receive a misdemeanor, though the governor says most people will simply receive warnings and will only be charged if they refuse to shelter in place. However, Kemp has signed an executive order authorizing county sheriffs and deputies to enforce the shelter in place order if necessary, according to WMAZ. Before the order could only be enforced by the Georgia Department of National Resources or State Patrol troopers.
Residents then can only leave their homes if they're doing something essential like:

  • Getting important supplies, grocery shopping or getting food
  • Visiting a doctor or a pharmacist for medical care
  • Leaving to exercise, jog or walk, but only if you keep the minimum 6 feet from everyone else as part of safe social distancing.

As for meetups or social events: they're mostly forbidden, too. Gatherings of over 10 people are banned unless there is enough space that each person can keep 6 feet or more from everyone else at all times. Local governments are also expected to follow this rule during any meetings they may hold.

That same ban also applies to church services and funerals: they are still permitted if there are less than 10 people present, but any more and there needs to be ample space for safe social distancing.


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This article originally appeared on the Atlanta Patch