Georgia - COVID-19 Covered

Georgia

Total Cases: 195,435 (August 4)
Tests Administered: 1,646,401 (August 3)
Fatalities: 3,842 (August 4)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in Georgia can be found here. 
  • The Georgia National Guard will partner with the Georgia Department of Public Health and Augusta University to assist COVID-19 testing facilities. (May 21) 

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 sanitation, PPE 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 areas. Governor 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 the application process for local governments looking to receive funds allocated to the state from the CARES Act. (June 29)
  • Governor Kemp signed three executive orders making transfers from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to departments including the Georgia Departments of Defense, Correction, Juvenile Justice, Natural Resources, and Public Safety. (June 26)
  • Georgia Power will lift the COVID-19 moratorium and resume power shutoffs on July 15, but will also offer specialized payment plans. (June 16)
  • The Family First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 will allow the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to facilitate the distribution of Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT). The benefits will be given to families with children that received free or reduced lunch from schools. (June 12)
  • The Georgia Supreme Court’s extension of the state’s judicial emergency through July 12 will also extend the moratorium on evictions. (June 12)

Business Support & Resources:

  • The Georgia Senate passed SB 359, 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 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)
  • Governor Kemp announced the launch of Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Georgia Suppliers Interactive Map and List, which is a list and interactive map of Georgia companies that are providing businesses with needed PPE materials. (May 18)
  • 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 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 extending the State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency for all of Georgia. (July 27) 
  • 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) 
  • Several counties and municipalities in Georgia have issued mandates requiring the use of face masks. (July 10) 
  • 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 when out in public spaces and in commercial establishments. (June 30)
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order extending the Public Health State of Emergency through August 11, 2020. (June 29)
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order that continues to require social distancing, banning gatherings of more than fifty people unless there is six feet between each person. (June 29)
  • 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 Supreme Court has extended the judicial emergency through July 12. (June 12)
  • The Georgia General Assembly will resume session June 15. (June 10)
  • 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 signed an executive order eliminating the shelter in place order for elderly individuals without aggravating health conditions who do not live in long-term care facilities. (June 11)
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order outlining safety, health, and social distancing guidance for individuals, businesses, employees, and other reopening facilities. (May 28)
  • 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)
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order requiring bars, nightclubs, and live performance venues to remain closed through May. Restaurant capacity restrictions were relaxed to allow for table size maximums to increase from six to 10. The number of children allowed in a single classroom at a childcare facility was doubled to 20. Summer camps are being allowed to resume if they followed 32 health and safety guidelines. (May 12)
  • Governor Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health urged individuals to wear face masks in public, social distance, and wash their hands often. (May 1)
  • Governor Kemp signed an executive order that gave guidance for specific protective measures to be undertaken by food service, entertainment, and other reopening businesses. The order outlined inspection timeless for food service, defined food establishments, and regulated indoor theater seating. (April 27)
  • Governor Kemp issued an executive order outlining sanitation, social distancing, and worker health guidelines for businesses that are reopening. (April 23)
  • Governor Kemp announced that Georgia will be reopening some businesses on April 24, including gyms, bowling alleys, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and other similar businesses. He will allow the statewide shelter-in-place order to expire on April 30, with the elderly and medically fragile patients having to continue to shelter-in-place. (April 20)

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Governor Kemp announced Georgia will dedicate $6 million to help school districts connect their K-12 students to the internet. (August 3) 
  • 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 send their 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)
  • Governor Kemp announced that the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative (GBDI) will launch the Speedtest by Ookla pilot program in August to give school leaders insight on the internet connectivity for Georgia’s students and teachers for the upcoming school year. (June 23)
  • Governor Kemp and the Georgia Department of Education released a joint statement saying that Georgia will submit a waiver to the US Department of Education for the suspension of the 2020-21 Georgia Milestones assessment and CCRPI school and district rating. (June 18)
  • The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) eliminated the edTPA assessment as a requirement for the certification of educators in Georgia reducing costs and barriers for teachers. (June 18)
  • Governor Kemp announced that overnight summer camps can reopen with certain safety precautions like negative testing results for all campers and workers for COVID-19 12 days before admission. (June 11)
  • 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)
  • Governor Kemp announced that summer schools could resume in June if schools can keep students separated in classrooms and routinely sanitize facilities. (May 28)
  • The Georgia High School Association will allow high school sports activities to begin to resume on June 8. (May 21)

State Higher Education:

  • Augusta Technical College is allowing 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 in-person classes resume in August. (June 24)
  • A list of Georgia colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here.
  • The University of North Georgia will reopen for face-to-face instruction in the fall with social distancing and health guidelines in place. (June 10)
  • The Georgia State Department of Athletics announced that they would begin reopening athletic facilities June 1 in accordance with guidance from Governor Kemp and the University System of Georgia. (May 29)

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