What Does Georgia’s Coronavirus Shelter-In-Place Order Mean?
Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order requiring all of Georgia to be under a shelter-in-place order from 6 p.m. Friday, April 3, to 11:59 p.m. April 13.
The order runs until April 13 because that’s when the current state of public health emergency approved by the legislature runs out. It is likely that both the public health emergency and the shelter-in-place order will be extended.
Kemp already issued a statewide executive order closing bars and nightclubs and prohibiting public gatherings of 10 or more people unless they could be spread out more than six feet apart at all times.
That language is also in the order.
As far as shelter-in-place goes, the order defines it as “all residents and visitors of the state of Georgia are required to shelter in place within their homes or places of residence, meaning remaining in their place of residence and taking every possible precaution to limit social interaction.”
Practically speaking, there are some exceptions to the order. It doesn’t apply to people who are conducting essential services, performing necessary travel or are part of critical infrastructure.
There's a long list of jobs that are considered critical infrastructure included in a handout from Kemp's office. These are businesses and people that keep our food supply, utilities and transportation going and other services, like health care.
Click this link to read federal guidance on what is considered critical infrastructure, and answers to other frequently asked questions.
Conducting essential services in this case means obtaining supplies and services for your family, like groceries or medicine. The order says preference should be given to online ordering, home delivery and curbside pick-up where possible. Medical appointments are also okay.
Outdoor activities are allowed, too, as long as people keep a minimum of 6 feet away from others.
From the governor's office: "The key takeaway is that you need to stay in your house as much as possible, but we recognize there are circumstances when you will need to leave. Keep those circumstances rare, consolidate trips as much as possible, and use take-out, curbside pickup and delivery services whenever possible."
The order also says some people who are engaged in “minimum basic operations” for a business that isn’t critical infrastructure or one of the businesses that must be closed can leave their homes in some cases.
But those businesses that fall under that category must screen workers who have signs of illness, enforce social distancing, enhance cleaning and sanitation processes, and implement teleworking for as many people as possible.
Restaurants statewide must stop dine-in services, and takeout, delivery and curbside pickup are allowed.
Gyms, bowling alleys, theaters, live performance venues and other places must close as well. That also applies to barber shops, tattoo parlors, and estheticians (waxing, threading, etc.).
Churches and funerals are not allowed to have more than 10 people gathering at a single location unless there is considerable space between people at all times. Many outbreaks in Georgia have been linked to these large, intimate gatherings.
One exception to the shelter-in-place order is the sale of guns and ammunition.
The order also gets rid of the patchwork county and city restrictions passed. No local government is allowed to be more or less strict than the new statewide order.
Anyone found guilty of violating the order could be guilty of a misdemeanor, and the order also supersedes and replaces Kemp’s previous executive order about sheltering in place for medically fragile Georgians.
The Georgia State Patrol as well as county sheriffs are authorized to enforce the order, disperse large groups of people in violation of the law and shut down businesses and nonprofits that also flout the order. The language in the order also says that "officials enforcing this Order should take reasonable steps to provide notice prior to issuing a citation or making an arrest."
GUIDANCE AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS