With coronavirus cases on the rise in Georgia in recent weeks, Gov. Brian Kemp has signed two executive orders extending the Public Health State of Emergency and existing COVID-19 safety measures.
Kemp signed the orders Monday afternoon and issued a press statement on his decision.
"As we continue our fight against COVID-19 in Georgia, it is vital that Georgians continue to heed public health guidance by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and practicing social distancing," Kemp said. "We have made decisions throughout the pandemic to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of all Georgians by relying on data and the advice of public health officials."
The governor acknowledged the rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as he signed the extension of the orders.
"While we continue to see a decreasing case fatality rate, expanded testing, and adequate hospital surge capacity, in recent days, Georgia has seen an increase in new cases reported and current hospitalizations. Given these trends, I am extending previous COVID-19 safety requirements and guidelines that were due to expire on June 30 at 11:59 p.m.," Kemp said. "Dr. Kathleen Toomey and the Department of Public Health, along with our local public health partners, will continue to monitor ongoing cases and related data to ensure that we are taking appropriate measures moving forward. Together, we can win the fight against COVID-19 and emerge stronger."
Executive Order 06.29.20.01 extends the Public Health State of Emergency through 11:59 p.m. on August 11, 2020. The Public Health State of Emergency allows for enhanced coordination across government and the private sector for supply procurement, comprehensive testing, and healthcare capacity.
Executive Order 06.29.20.02 continues to require social distancing, bans gatherings of more than 50 people unless there are six feet between each person, outlines mandatory criteria for businesses, and requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile. The order also outlines that the State Board of Education must provide "rules, regulations, and guidance for the operation of public elementary and secondary schools for local boards of education" in accordance with guidance from Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the Department of Public Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The order runs through 11:59 p.m. on July 15, 2020.