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Georgia’s public health state of emergency will be extended another month, through May 13, and the state’s shelter-in-place order will be extended through April 30, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday, April 8.
The state of emergency, which had been set to expire April 13, can be renewed by the governor under state law. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston will not be requesting a special legislative session, which was tentatively scheduled for April 15.
“This measure will allow us to continue to deploy resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in our health care facilities,” Kemp said in a statement. “We deeply appreciate the hard work of Georgians who are sheltering in place, using social distancing and helping us flatten the curve.”
The state of emergency, first declared March 14, gives the governor emergency powers to enforce laws and regulations relating to emergency management. Kemp can also take operational control of civil forces and helpers in the state.
Under the executive order, state health officials can also establish protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and implement quarantine and isolation for Georgians exposed.
The Georgia Composite Medical Board and Georgia Board of Nursing are also able to grant temporary licenses to applicants who are in good standing in other states.
The state legislature ratified the emergency declaration in March.
While the state of emergency adjusts some government regulations to address the pandemic, the shelter-in-place order applies to residents and requires them to stay home unless they are doing an essential activity or working at an essential business. Georgians will now be required to shelter in place through the end of the month. The order, which went into effect April 3, had been set to expire April 13.
Under the order, people are only allowed to leave home for essential activities or travel. Outdoor activities are permitted, as long as people who do not live together stay six feet apart. Essential activities include getting food, household supplies or medication, as well as seeking medical, behavioral health or emergency services. Essential businesses allowed to stay open include grocery stores, pharmacies and health care providers. Other businesses like fitness centers, theaters, salons, and bars and nightclubs are required to close. Restaurant dining rooms have to close, although restaurants can provide delivery, drive-thru or takeout service.
Kemp has also banned vacation short-term rentals through April 30, in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus between states or areas within Georgia.
The order will not apply to rentals with fully paid agreements made before April 9. While law enforcement will be enforcing the order, they will not be authorized to evict people. The order “shall not be construed in any way to prevent owners from personally occupying their own properties,” and it will not apply to leases for properties used as a person’s primary residence.
See the original Gainesville Times story here.