Summary of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s Partial Reopening Order

Information Current as of April 21, 2020

Georgia will permit some non-essential businesses to reopen this week and next, subject to social distancing measures.  Governor Brian Kemp announced the loosening at an afternoon press conference on Monday April 20.  Other states including South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Florida also made announcements yesterday regarding initial moves toward statewide reopening. 

Key points of the Georgia partial-reopening order, which can be found here, include:

  • Notwithstanding the new permitted openings, the state remains under a stay-at-home order through the end of the month.
  • Allowed to open this week:
    • Gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, estheticians, hair designers, and massage therapy may begin Minimum Basic Operations (MBO) as of Friday, April 24.
      • MBO was defined in the state’s lockdown order earlier this month, and permits such activities as outdoor work where workers are physically distant from one another, in-person work designed to support remote workers, and skeleton operations designed to preserve the value of the business (such as inventory, payroll and security).
      • It also includes “providing services” and “remaining open to the public subject to the restrictions of this Order.”
      • MBO requires following a twenty-part list of health and safety measures.
    • All “healthcare-related practices and services” that have elected to cease operations should begin treating patients “as soon as practicable” in accordance with guidance from the CDC, Medicare/Medicaid guidelines, and the provisions of the order to prevent the spread of the virus.
      • The order specifically details a list of practices that may open, as well, including physicians performing elective surgeries, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists, ambulatory surgical practices, healthcare institutions and medical facilities.
      • These facilities do not have to observe MBO.
      • They are encouraged to “consider implementing” the operational guidelines for Critical Infrastructure that were set out in the state lockdown order.
      • That list is a 16-part list of health and safety measures.
  • The governor stated in his press conference that restaurants will be permitted to open as of next Monday, April 27, subject to restrictions to be announced later this week.
  • The order specifically suspends enforcement of “any county or municipal ordinance or order that is more or less restrictive.”
  • All business must limit their capacity to ten people if they cannot otherwise observe the 6’ social distancing requirement in any permitted operations.
  • The order authorizes the state’s health officials to devise a testing plan.
  • The order also confers limited liability on certain emergency responders.
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