Kemp: Bars, nightclubs to remain closed, no overnight summer camps ‘at this time’
ATLANTA (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said Tuesday the state’s live performance venues, bars and nightclubs will remain closed through May 31.
The governor said in a briefing outside the capitol that the decision was part of a new executive order “to extend several provisions, clarify existing guidelines for certain businesses and provide guidance to other operators in our state.”
“I know this extension is difficult for many Georgia business owners and communities with music venues,” Kemp said of the decision to keep certain businesses closed through May 31. “However, we believe that waiting a little bit longer will enhance health outcomes and give folks the opportunity to prepare for safe reopening in the near future.”
Kemp said the order was issued as COVID-19 positive hospitalizations, ventilator use and the percentage of positive cases continues to drop.
“It is based on data, science and the advice of our public health officials,” Kemp said. “Many have warned of a ‘second wave’ and asked if we are willing to change course if conditions to decline. Let me be clear: we will continue to track the numbers and continue to heed Dr. Toomey’s advice. We will take whatever action is necessary to protect the lives and livelihoods of Georgians.”
Kemp said all Georgians must continue following social distancing and said gatherings of more than 10 people “remain banned unless there is at least six feet between each person.”
“We continue to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings when out in public, and we thank everyone for their willingness to do the right thing,” Kemp said. “The shelter in place provision for medically fragile and Georgians aged 65 and older remains in effect through June 12, 2020.”
Childcare capacity increased
Kemp’s new order increases the number of people allowed in a single classroom of a childcare facility from 10 to 20 “so long as staff-to-children ratios set by the Department of Early Care and Learning are also maintained.”
Summer day camps can open May 14; no overnight camps ‘at this time’
Kemp said summer camps can start planning now to reopen with safeguards in place and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue guidance soon.
“Starting May 14, 2020, summer day camps are allowed to operate if they can meet 32 minimum, mandatory criteria,” Kemp said. “These requirements are extensive and cover a wide range of operations to ensure the safety of camp workers and participants of all ages.”
“Even though we have these measures in place to allow for summer camps, we are not allowing overnight summer camps in Georgia at this time.”
Restaurant facility capacity increased
Kemp’s new order also changes the amount of people allowed in parties at restaurants offering in-person dining.
“Moving forward, we will allow 10 patrons per 300 square feet of public space in restaurants and dining rooms and increase the party size per table from six to 10 people,” Kemp said.
Georgia receives first shipment of Remdesivir
Kemp said the state received its first shipment of the drug Remdesivir from the federal government Tuesday.
“We have received 32 cases with 40 vials of the drug per case,” Kemp said. “And we will be working with officials in the Department of Public Health to determine how it will be distributed.”
Testing is available for all Georgians
“I did want to mention again that testing is available for all Georgians, regardless of whether you have coronavirus symptoms,” Kemp said. “Anyone can call their local health department to get scheduled for testing. They can also download the Augusta University ExpressCare app, visit augustahealth.org, or call (706) 721-1852.
“Staff will schedule your visit at one of our 105 state-run testing sites around Georgia,” Kemp continued.
Kemp warns of possible ‘sharper increase’ in positive test results
The White House issued a call to action Monday which encouraged states to aggressively test nursing home residents and staff over the next two weeks.
Kemp said Georgia has been doing that for a few weeks now through the Georgia National Guard, testing 46% of all nursing home residents and 24% of staff members.
“As we aggressively test more nursing homes and long-term care facilities, we may see a sharper increase in positive test results,” he said. “By doing this, it will allow medical providers to intervene earlier and try to mitigate adverse outcomes among vulnerable Georgians.”
Kemp asked Georgians to continue looking out for the state’s elderly and medically fragile.
‘Do not risk your health by delaying important appointments’
“Before I end this briefing, I want to emphasize a few points,” Kemp said. “Every day, we are seeing reports that more and more people are holding off on important medical screenings and vaccinations out of fear of exposure. Please do not risk your health by delaying important appointments. Medical providers and healthcare facilities are open and have safeguards in place for patients.”