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The State of Georgia in its latest move to “slow the spread” of COVID-19 is ordering “certain” residents to stay at home, for several nonessential businesses like nightclubs and gyms to close, and is limiting gathering to groups of 10 or less.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced the order Monday afternoon during a 5 o’clock press conference in response to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
The order will be effective as of noon Tuesday, March 24 and will expire on Monday, April 6.
“Today I will be issuing an Executive Order requiring certain individuals to isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place,” Kemp said listing off Georgians who are most vulnerable to succumbing to the virus.
Those citizens include ones living in longterm facilities, have chronic lung disease, cancer patients, or have positive COVID-19 tests.
“We can not let this virus defeat us. We are stronger than this virus and we will continue to weather this storm.”
In keeping with the federal government, Kemp is also extending the state tax deadline to July 15.
City of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms early-Monday told Atlanta City Council she had drafted a similar Executive Order but was holding its release in an effort to coordinate with the governor’s office on the statewide mandate.
It’s unclear if Bottoms is going to move forward with her seemingly stricter order.
Georgians have been pushing for a shutdown with a Change.org petition going viral Monday and hitting its 25,000 signature threshold, and growing.
Kemp’s mandate is a far cry from the type of “shutdown” underway in states like California and New York where all citizens are being asked to shelter-in-place.
Also, several other states are shuttering restaurants with the exception of takeout and delivery.
Kemp did not specifically mention if restaurants were included in the order but did say “The Department of Public Health will be empowered to close any business, establishment, non-profit, or organization for noncompliance.”
What Now Atlanta has reached out to the governer’s office for clarification.
News of the statewide shutdown comes only days after an Executive Order was issued by the City of Atlanta requiring restaurants to close dining rooms and other businesses like bars and gyms to temporarily shutter completely.
A social media movement called The Great American Takeout is encouraging Americans to order takeout Tuesday, March 24, in a show of solidarity with the nation’s foodservice industry which has been gravely impacted by the orders to close.
[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]