Georgia - COVID-19 Covered

Georgia

Total Cases: 349,605 (October 25)
Fatalities: 7,808 (October 25)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in Georgia can be found here. 
  • The COVID-19 mega-testing site near the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be closed after September 18. (September 14) 
  • The Georgia Department of Public Health announced the opening of a COVID-19 mega-testing site near the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Testing will be available to all Georgians regardless of symptoms. (August 7) 

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order clarifying and expanding essential services to include the visitation, care, and transportation of elderly and child populations. The order also includes the obtainment of internet services for educational use. (April 3) 
  • Under the current declared emergency designation, the following personnel is considered essential during a disaster: petroleum distributors, food distributors, non-emergency medical facilities (such as dialysis centers), pharmaceutical providers, members of the media, medical facility support staff, and local government essential workers. (GEMA) 

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • The Georgia General Assembly passed SB 408, which allow the expansion of unemployment benefits continue even after the Governor ends the state of emergency at the end of June. (June 24) 
  • Governor Kemp announced that the state is producing a filming best practices guide for the film and television industry once filming resumes in Georgia. (May 22) 
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order mandating restaurants, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and other reopening businesses to take certain hygiene and distancing steps to protect their employees and the public. (April 27) 
  • The Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barber instructed businesses to follow the OSHA “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” including instituting temperature checks of employees when necessary, screening customers, limiting occupancy, disinfecting, using PPE, and promoting social distancing. (April 22) 
  • Governor Kemp issued an executive order opening designated businesses including some theaters, restaurants, barbershops, salons, and gyms. Screening will be required for employees with shortness of breath, a fever, or a cough. Increased sanitationPPE use, and other safety measures are required to be taken by businesses. (April 20) 
  • Governor Kemp issued new guidance to merchants and ATM owners, which includes, encouragement to frequently clean and disinfect terminals and clean checkout and payment terminal areasGovernor Kemp also reiterated the shelter in place order allows businesses to suspend the use of PIN pads, PIN entry devices, electronic capture signature, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements if it is permitted by underlying credit card agency and company agreements. (April 5) 
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order that would allow unemployed Georgians to collect unemployment pay for 26 weeks instead of 14 weeks and would allow someone who finds a job to earn up to $300 a week before their earnings count against the unemployment pay. (March 26) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Kemp announced that Georgia was awarded an additional $13 million in dislocated worker relief funding. The funds will be allocated towards training services for laid-off workers across the state. (October 21) 
  • Governor Kemp announced that $1.5 billion in relief funding from the CARES Act would be allocated to repay borrowing for the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. (October 16) 
  • Georgia Power will lift the COVID-19 moratorium and resume power shutoffs on July 15, but will also offer specialized payment plans. (June 16) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • The Department of Revenue has issued rules governing home deliveries of alcohol. Interested liquor stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants must demonstrate they can meet the requirements of the new rules and gain the agency’s approval. (September 21) 
  • Governor Kemp signed a bill into law that shields businesses and health care providers from COVID-19-related lawsuits. (August 6) 
  • The Georgia Senate passed S359, which would shield companies from legal liability related to COVID-19 unless they show “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” The House previously passed the same measure. (June 26) 
  • The Georgia General Assembly passed HB 879, which would allow home delivery of beer, wine, and liquor from restaurants, bars, convenience stores, and grocery stores. The bill will proceed to the Governor’s desk. (June 25) 
  • The Georgia Senate panel passed HB 216, which would protect businesses and health care providers from being held liable if workers, customers or visitors contract COVID-19 under certain circumstances. (June 16) 
  • The Georgia Supreme Court issued a rule banning landlords that received funds from the CARES Act from seeking evictions against tenants for not paying rent. (May 1) 
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that Invest Atlanta will be offering emergency small business loans ranging from $500 to $30,000. (March 23) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Kemp extended the state’s coronavirus restrictions an additional two weeks. (October 16) 
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order that extends Georgia’s coronavirus restrictions. The new order allows restaurant and bar employees to return to work after 24 hours if they’re confirmed to be symptom-free after they were suspected of contracting COVID-19. (October 2) 
  • Governor Kemp issued new guidelines on long-term care facility visitations, easing restrictions and bringing the state’s rules in line with federal guidelines. (September 23) 
  • Governor Kemp issued an executive order that extends current COVID-19 restrictions until the end of September. The order also issued guidance for long-term care facility visitations, setting up a three-phase system for in-person visits. (September 16) 
  • Governor Kemp renewed two executive orders. The first order extends the public health state of emergency until October 10. The second order renews the shelter-in-place for the medically fragile and long-term care facility residents. (September 2) 
  • Governor Kemp extended an executive order that bans large gatherings and instructs the medically fragile to shelter in place. The order also allows for local mask mandates on public property. (August 17) 
  • Governor Kemp is expected to issue an executive order stating that local governments can’t order private businesses to require masks. It is also likely to remove a provision that explicitly outlawed cities and counties from mandating face coverings. (August 13) 
  • Governor Kemp issued an executive order extending the Public Health State of Emergency and existing COVID-19 safety measures(August 3) 
  • Governor Kemp issued an executive order that prevents local governments from enforcing face-covering orders that conflict with the current statewide order. (July 16) 
  • DeKalb County and the Cities of Avondale Estates, Doraville, and Dunwoody have mandated the use of face coverings in public. (July 14) 
  • Atlanta’s public transit system will require riders to wear masks on trains and buses beginning July 13. (July 13) 
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reinstated Phase 1 reopening guidelines, in which residents should wear face masks, restaurants should close dining rooms, non-essential city facilities should close, and individuals are encouraged to leave home only for essential travel. (July 13) 
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a mandate requiring the use of face masks. (July 9) 
  • Savannah Mayor Van Johnson issued an emergency order requiring the use of face masks in public spaces and in commercial establishments. (June 30)  
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order that continues to require social distancingbanning gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is six feet between each person. (June 29) 
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order allowing college and professional sports to return, capping gatherings at 50 individuals. There is an exception for conventions of over 100 people and live performances with certain safety measures in place. Indoor cinema group size limits have been eliminated, and salons and other personal care facilities can accept walk-ins. (June 11) 
  • Governor Kemp announced that NASCAR will be allowed to resume competitions without fans in the state starting June 7 with the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. (May 14) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Governor Kemp announced Georgia’s first allocation of Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding set aside by the CARES Act. The funding will be used towards initiatives for Georgia’s K-12 schools and universities, including mental health services and student connectivity. (August 20 
  • Governor Kemp confirmed the state would not order public school systems to mandate students wear masks. Kemp said school superintendents have the responsibility to decide whether or not to impose mask mandates. (August 10) 
  • Atlanta Public Schools will postpone the first day of class until August 24 and will require students to wear masks in all school buildings. (August 4) 
  • The Georgia Department of Education released a revised guidance document on when schools should close in the fall in the event of a COVID-19 spike. (July 16) 
  • The DeKalb County School District delayed the start of the school year to August 17. (July 13) 
  • Savannah Chatham County Public Schools Superintendent Ann Levett announced that an online-only learning option for the fall is under consideration. (July 10) 
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools will delay the start of the new school year. The expected start date is now August 12. (July 8) 
  • Richmond County Schools announced a tentative reopening plan. Parents will be given a choice of whether they want to sentheir children to school or have them learn online at home. (July 2) 
  • Fulton County Schools will allow families to choose between sending their children to school or learning online at home. The district also will delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year. (June 30) 
  • The Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Public Health released a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction in the fall called Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools. (June 4) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Georgia colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • Augusta Technical College will allow students to choose their desired option for fall classes. Students will now be able to take classes in person, online or in a hybrid setting with an online component. (July 8) 
  • The University System of Georgia announced it will require students and faculty to wear face coverings in classrooms and other campus facilities. (July 7) 
  • Georgia Tech will offer remote classes with limited in-person instruction this fall. (July 6 
  • The University System of Georgia says that it will “strongly encourage” students and faculty at public colleges and universities to wear face masks on campus when inperson classes resume in August. (June 24) 
  • The University of North Georgia will reopen for facetoface instruction in the fall with social distancing and health guidelines in place. (June 10) 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com