Kemp executive order requires some to quarantine; shuts down bars, nightclubs

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Unlike a number of other states across the nation, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has not issued a shelter in place order that applies to all citizens.

Instead, Kemp on Monday issued an executive order specifically targeting “at a minimum” some of the most vulnerable to critical complications of COVID-19 including individuals residing in long-term care facilities, with chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have tested positive for COVID-19, are suspected of having COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

“The Department of Public Health will promulgate rules and regulations to implement this order and define how these individuals can access essential services, travel and receive visitors if there’s an end of life circumstance,” Kemp said.

This executive order does impact certain businesses and other individuals, as it also orders closed all bars and nightclubs, and bans all gatherings of ten or more people unless six-feet of distance can be maintained “at all times.”

“The Department of Public Health will be empowered to close any business or establishment, non-profit or organization for noncompliance,” Kemp stated.

This order goes into effect at noon March 24 and expires at noon April 6, 2020.

“These measures are intended to ensure the health and safety of Georgians across our state, and I ask for everyone’s cooperation over the next two weeks,” Kemp said. “They will protect the medically fragile, mitigate potential exposure in public venues, and allow the state to ramp up emergency preparedness efforts as cases increase in each region.”

Kemp said over the past few days, the number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia has “dramatically increased.”

“This fight is far from over, but we are in this together. Look out for your fellow Georgians and pray for the continued safety of our first responders, healthcare workforce, elderly, and medically fragile,” he said as he urged residents to utilize practices to reduce transmission. “Please continue to follow the guidance of healthcare professionals by using best practices – regular hand-washing, social distancing, and disinfecting frequently used areas to prevent infection.”

He also encouraged co-operation with social distancing and implored Georgians to vigorously fight COVID-19.

“While we have taken strategic, direct action today, I am calling on my fellow citizens to fight this virus with everything you’ve got. We are all part of this solution. If your friends, neighbors, or local organizations are not complying, call them out, or report them to us. If an establishment isn’t following these directives, take your business elsewhere,” he said. “We cannot let this virus defeat us. We are stronger than this crisis, and we will weather the storm. Thank you, may God bless you, and may God bless the great State of Georgia.”

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