GEORGIA (WTXL) — Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a shelter in place order and has directed all grade schools in Georgia to remain closed for the rest of the school year.
Thursday, Kemp signed the order, which overrides and suspends any local ordinances that came before it.
The order takes effect at 6 p.m. on Friday and will expire at 11:59 p.m. on April 13.
The order mandates that all residents and visitors in Georgia 'shelter-in-place.' That means people are being required to stay in their homes and limit social interaction as much as possible.
Unless you are participating in "essential services,' performing necessary travel or going to work to perform an essential duty for your job, you are to remain inside your home.
In the order, essential services are defined as:
- Obtaining supplies like food, medication or cleaning items for yourself or family
- Seeking medical, mental health or emergency services
- Outdoor activities, so long as you practice social distancing (i.e. maintaining 6 feet between people at all times
Under those guidelines you can do things like:
- Travel to the essential services outlined above
- Perform "Minimum Basic Operations" for a business, corporation or establishment whether or not the business is considered essential or non-essential
- Go to any job identified as essential
"Minimum Basic Operations" are defined in the order as minimum activities so a business can "provide services, manage inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions."
This also includes anything businesses need to do to make sure employees can work remotely. Outdoor work, like delivery services, construction, landscaping and contract work, is also permitted.
Non-essential businesses are only permitted to perform "Minimum Basic Operations." Georgia, like Florida, is using guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to which workers and businesses are considered essential and non-essential.
Any business that continues to operate in-person is also required to screen it's employees, keep them from working when they're sick and taking other mitigation measures like staggering shifts or having virtual meetings.
Last month, Gov. Kemp ordered restaurants and private social clubs to suspend their dine-in services and opt for curbside, carryout or delivery instead.
Gyms, bars, theaters, tattoo parlors, hair and nail salons, among other entertainment-focused businesses, have also been ordered to close while the order is in effect.
Gatherings of more than 10 are also banned at any single, public location unless social distancing can be maintained.
You are also prohibited from having visitors under the order unless they are providing medical services, helping you perform critical daily activities or bringing you needed supplies like food.
Violating the order is a misdemeanor crime.
"Officials enforcing this order should take reasonable steps to provide notice prior to issuing a citation or making an arrest," the order reads.
On Wednesday, Kemp also announced his intent to sign an executive order extending school closures.
According to the order, all public elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. The order says online learning will continue even as schools are closed for the year.
The University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia will remain closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the semester since students have already transitioned to all online learning.
You can watch the full press conference below: