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Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Tuesday that eased restrictions on daycares, summer day camps and restaurants but extended the closure of entertainment venues in the latest steps of Georgia’s phased reopening of businesses amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The executive order, announced during a press briefing at the Georgia State Capitol, allows for daycares to increase class sizes to 20 children, summer day camps to begin opening May 14 and restaurants to seat parties up to 10 people.
But live performance venues, bars and nightclubs must remain closed through May 31, per the order.
Kemp said the executive order is in response to a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations, ventilator use and the percentage of positive cases.
“It is based on data, science, and the advice of our public health officials,” Kemp said.
As of Wednesday, 1,091 were hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, while 31% of the state’s ventilators were in use, according to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reports over 35,750 have been infected by the virus with more than 1,500 deaths.
Kemp reiterated that the state’s ban on gatherings of 10 or more people remains in effect, as does the shelter-in-place order through June 12 for “medically fragile and Georgians aged 65 and older.” Kemp also encouraged Georgians to continue wearing face coverings in public.
The governor also announced at the press conference the federal government sent Georgia its first shipment of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has been authorized for emergency use to treat patients with COVID-19.
In addition, Kemp reported that Georgia has tested 46% of residents and 24% of staff at 142 long-term care facilities around the state. Another 46,000 people still need to be tested, Kemp said.
In Forsyth County, eight long-term care facilities have reported positive cases of the novel coronavirus in residents (29) or staff members (20), with four deaths.