Kemp issues order limiting large gatherings, closing bars and nightclubs
ATLANTA (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order Monday calling for the closing of the state’s bars and nightclubs, banning gatherings of 10 or more people and requiring those with compromised immune systems to shelter in place.
“At minimum, this order for isolation, quarantine, or shelter in place covers those who live in a long-term care facility, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms and exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19,” Kemp said.
The governor said the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people applies “unless you can maintain at least six feet between people at all times.”
“The Department of Public Health will be empowered to close any business, establishment, non-profit, or organization for noncompliance,” Kemp added.
The measures, developed using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Georgia Department of Public Health, go into effect Tuesday, March 24 at noon and expire on Monday, April 6.
“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.”
“This fight is far from over, but we are in this together,” the governor continued. “Look out for your fellow Georgians and pray for the continued safety of our first responders, healthcare workforce, elderly, and medically fragile.”
Kemp also announced he has extended the state’s tax filing deadline to July 15—in accordance with the recently announced federal filing deadline—and that about one million Georgians who receive SNAP will get an additional $100 in nutrition benefits in March and April.
“This change could be a major support to senior citizens in our state, who typically receive about $15 in SNAP benefits each month,” the governor said. “This supplement will allow them to get the maximum benefit amount for their household size, which is $194 for a household of one, in March and April.” Kemp said March benefits have already been issued, so the March supplement will come in the form of a second allotment at the end of the month.
Kemp added officials are working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue the increased supplement for March “as soon as possible.”
Kemp closed by asking Georgians to continue following guidance of healthcare professionals, which includes washing hands, social distancing and disinfecting frequently used areas.
“While we have taken strategic, direct action today, I am calling on my fellow citizens to fight this virus with everything you’ve got,” Kemp said. “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.”
Governor Kemp’s executive orders will be published here once signed.