By Dave Williams, Bureau Chief, Capitol Beat News Service
Gov. Brian Kemp has issued a statewide shelter-in-place order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Here are some frequently asked questions surrounding the order and answers supplied by the governor’s office:
How long does the executive order last?
The shelter-in-place order took effect at 6 p.m. Friday (April 3) and expires at 11:59 p.m. April 13
What businesses and professionals must cease in-person operations and close to the public during this time?
Live performance venues
Dine-in services at restaurants and private social clubs (Exceptions include take-out, curbside pickup and delivery, as well as dine-in services at hospitals, health-care facilities, nursing homes or other long-term care facilities)
Estheticians (ex. waxing, threading, eyelash extensions, cosmetic treatments)
Beauty shops and salons (including home shops)
Barber shops (including home)
Hair design schools
Nail care schools
Licensed massage therapists
How does the order apply to individuals and families?
All Georgia residents and visitors are required to shelter in place in their residences. “Shelter in place” means remaining in their residences and taking every possible precaution to limit social interaction to prevent the spread or infection of COVID-19.
Are there exceptions?
Yes. A Georgia resident or visitor is not required to shelter in place if they are:
Engaging in essential services.
Working in critical infrastructure.
Engaging in minimum basic operations.
Performing necessary travel.
What are essential services and critical infrastructure workers?
As defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing operating functions, among others. It also includes workers who support critical supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure. The industries they support represent but are not limited to medical and health care, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement and public works.
Engaging in essential services means obtaining necessary supplies and services for your household, engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of your household, and engaging in outdoor exercise activities as long as you have at least six feet between people who do not live in your household.
You can go to the grocery store, medical appointments and the pharmacy. You can go pick up food or have food delivered to your house. You can leave your house to buy supplies to clean or maintain your house. You can go outside to exercise. You can also leave your house in an emergency.
The key takeaway is that you need to stay in your house as much as possible, but we recognize there are circumstances when you need to leave. Keep those circumstances rare, consolidate trips as much as possible and use take-out, curbside pickup and delivery service whenever possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Necessary travel means the travel required for someone to conduct or participate in essential services, minimum basic operations or work for critical infrastructure.
Minimum basic operations are limited to:
The minimum activities necessary to maintain the value of a business … provide services, manage inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions. Such minimum necessary activities include remaining open to the public subject to the restrictions of this order.
The minimum activities necessary to facilitate employees or volunteers being able to work remotely from their residences.
Instances where employees are working outdoors without regular contact with other persons, such as delivery services, contractors, landscape businesses and agricultural industry services.
What does this order mean for church services and funeral services?
No business, establishment, for-profit or nonprofit corporation, organization or county or municipal government is allowed to have more than 10 people gathering in a single location unless there is at least six feet between each person at all times. This rule applies to church services and funeral services.
Can I go to state parks or play sports outside like golf?
Yes. You can visit state parks or play sports outside, including golf, subject to restrictions. Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned unless there is at least six feet between each person at all times. If people congregate in certain areas of a state park or golf course, for example, law enforcement will warn them to disband. If they fail to comply, they may face criminal charges.
What happens if I violate the governor’s executive order?
If you violate any terms of the order, you are committing a misdemeanor, which is a crime in the state of Georgia. For example, if you are not sheltering in place and none of the four exceptions for essential services, minimum basic operations, critical infrastructure or necessary travel applies to your activities, you will receive a warning from law enforcement and risk facing criminal charges if you fail to comply.
How does this order apply to local governments?
No county or municipal to government is allowed to have more than 10 people gathered in a single location unless there is at least six feet between each person at all times. The governor’s order supersedes all local ordinances to the extent they conflict and states that no ordinance can be more restrictive or less restrictive.