Virus update 3

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday, April 2, signed a statewide shelter-in-place order in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The order takes effect 6 p.m. Friday, April 3 and will run through at least April 13. 

The full order can be found here. 

Under the order, people must remain home unless they are traveling to obtain food, groceries or medicine, or engaging in similar activity for the well-being of others such as family members and pets.

They can also travel to work or medical appointments, assist with "critical infrastructure" or perform outdoor exercise activities as long as "social distancing" requirements — at least 6 feet of space between every person — are adhered to. People may golf or go to state parks, but must comply with the social distancing requirements.

Businesses that are considered "critical infrastructure" are required to take several steps to remain open — including, among several others, screening employees for symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath and staggering shifts and having employees telework when possible.

All other businesses that aren't considered critical infrastructure are allowed to only perform minimum basic operations and follow additional protocols while being closed to the public. 

Restaurants are allowed to provide drive-thru and curbside pick-up, but no dine-in service.

Bars, night clubs, gyms, fitness centers, entertainment facilities and all grooming establishments (hair and beauty salons, nail salons, massage parlors, etc.) are ordered to close.

Churches are allowed to have services and funerals can be held, but only if the same social distancing requirements are followed. State officials have identified church services and funerals as sources of huge community outbreaks.

The statewide order largely tracks with stay-at-home orders enacted over the last week by Barrow County and the municipalities of Auburn, Braselton, Statham and Bethlehem. The Winder City Council voted on Tuesday, March 31, not to approve the recommended stay-at-home order that the others approved and instead stuck with its current emergency measures in place, including a nighttime curfew. But the state order will supersede that decision. 

On Friday, the governor deputized all sheriffs to enforce the act.

The governor's office also released a frequently-asked questions document about the order. It can be found here. 

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