News & Events

Georgia COVID-19 Response Updates

April 3, 2020

Governor Kemp issued an order expanding the definition of “Essential Services” such that the phrase “engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of family or household members” includes any and all activities that may preserve the health and welfare of persons in the State.  “Essential Services” is expanded to include the transport, visitation, regular care of family members and persons dependent on the services of others and similar actions that ensure the welfare and best interest of persons in the State of Georgia.  It also includes children obtaining public internet access to fulfill educational obligations.  The order clarifies that only those officials deputized by the Governor or Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency are “authorized to mandate the closure of any business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation or organization” found not to be in compliance with the shelter-in-place order. To view the order, click here.

Governor Kemp issued an order providing that Sheriffs of the State of Georgia and their deputies are authorized to enforce the closure of businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profit corporations or organization in accordance with the prior shelter-in-place order.  The order further provides that Sheriffs should take reasonable steps to provide notice and a reasonable time to allow businesses to comply with directions prior to mandating closure.  To view the order, click here.

Because Governor Kemp’s shelter-in-place order allows for outdoor exercise with social distancing of at least six feet and supersedes prior local orders, the beaches, which had previously been closed, are viable options for exercise as of Friday evening. To learn more, click here.


April 2, 2020

Governor Kemp issued a statewide shelter-in-place order in effect from 6:00 p.m. on April 3, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2020.  The nine-page order is detailed and contains the following key provisions:

  • No business, organization, or government shall allow more than 10 persons to gather in a single location unless all persons can maintain at least six (6) feet of distance between themselves and any other person. Exceptions include cohabitating persons outside of their homes and entities that are classified as “Critical Infrastructure;”
  • All residents and visitors of the State of Georgia are required to shelter in place unless they are:
    • Conducting “Essential Services,” which include: obtaining necessary supplies and services for their family (the order encourages online ordering, home delivery and curbside pick-up); seeking medical, behavioral health, or emergency services; or engaging in outdoor exercise, so long as persons who are not occupants of the same residence maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from one another;
    • Part of the workforce for “Critical Infrastructure” and are actively engaged in or traveling to and from their employment;
    • Engaged in “Minimum Basic Operations” for a business or organization not classified as “Critical Infrastructure;”
  • The term “Critical Infrastructure” refers to businesses and organizations as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” It also includes: suppliers of essential goods and services to the critical infrastructure workforce; entities that provide legal services or home hospice; and organizations that offer food and health or mental health services;
    • Critical Infrastructure businesses must implement measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including by evaluating for fever, providing enhanced sanitation and personal protective equipment (“PPE”), and other measures defined in the order;
  • Businesses that are not considered to be “Critical Infrastructure” shall only engage in “Minimum Basic Operations” and must implement measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including by evaluating for fever, providing enhanced sanitation and PPE, implementing teleworking protocol wherever possible, and other measures defined in the order;
    • “Minimum Basic Operations” are limited to those activities that are necessary to maintain the value of the business, which may include: remaining open subject to the restrictions in the order; the facilitation of capabilities for employees to work remotely or patrons to participate remotely; and outdoor work where employees are not in regular contact with other persons, such as delivery services, contractors, landscape businesses, and agricultural services;
  • All restaurants and private social clubs shall cease dine-in services, but takeout, curbside pick-up, and delivery are permitted. This does not apply to dine-in services in healthcare settings;
  • Various businesses, including gyms, entertainment venues, and hair salons, among others, must cease in-person operations;
  • Persons required to shelter in place shall not receive visitors except in limited circumstances defined by the order, such as visitors providing medical or emergency services, or necessary supplies and services including food;
  • The order also suspends enforcement of any local ordinance or order issued since March 1, 2020, with the purpose of responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or ordering residents to shelter in place.

The order may be viewed here.


April 1, 2020

Governor Kemp signed an order extending the closure of public elementary and secondary schools through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.  The order may be viewed here.


March 31, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp signed an order authorizing the use of real-time audio-visual communication technology to assist in notarizing real estate documents.  The order may be viewed here.

Governor Kemp signed an order authorizing the State Treasurer to act as a “prudent investor” with the objective to maintain liquidity and preserve capital, including purchasing, at market rates, U.S. government securities, repurchase agreements secured by U.S. government securities, and U.S. government money market funds. The order may be viewed here.

Governor Kemp signed an order directing the Commission of Revenue to implement suspensions/waivers related to Conservation Use Value Assessment and Forest Land Use Protection Act applications. The order may be viewed here.

Governor Kemp signed an order providing pharmacy technicians and pharmacists with options for handling the computer-based processing of prescriptions. The order may be viewed here.

Clayton County

Clayton County Board of Commissions signed an amended declaration of emergency ordering residents to shelter in place beginning 12:01 a.m. on April 1, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on April 12, 2020.  The order allows individuals to leave their residences only for essential activities, essential governmental functions and to operate essential businesses as defined by the order.  “Essential Businesses” are defined in Exhibit A of the order and include healthcare operations and essential infrastructure, grocery stores, food cultivation, media, gas stations and auto-supply/repair, banks, and hardware stores, among others.  To view the order, click here.

Fulton County

The Fulton County Board of Health issued an order requiring all Fulton County residents to shelter in place until the order is rescinded. Individuals may leave their places of residence only to provide or receive essential services, engage in essential activities, work for essential business and/or perform essential governmental functions as defined in the order. Individually who are “medically fragile” in that they are at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19 are encouraged to stay in their residence except as necessary to seek medical care. Violations of the order shall constitute a misdemeanor and carry penalties and fines of up to $1,000 and/or up to 12 months in jail per offense.  The order may be viewed here.


March 30, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp signed an order authorizing a $35M transfer from the Governor’s Emergency Fund in response to the U.S. Declaration of National Emergency for COVID-19 and the State of Georgia Executive Order Declaration of Public Health State of Emergency. The order may be viewed here.


March 27, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order authorizing the Georgia State Board of Education to waive, on its own initiative, the rules, regulations, policies and procedures found within the Elementary and Secondary Education provisions of the Official Code of Georgia; suspending the statutory provisions concerning Annual Performance Evaluation for Local Education Agencies through July 31, 2020; suspending the statutory requirement that home-study students to be subject to standardized testing at least every three years through July 31, 2020; and ordering that any home-study student that has not satisfied the nationally standardized testing requirement shall satisfy the requirement before the end of the 2020-2021 school year. The order may be viewed here.

DeKalb County

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond issued an Executive Order effective March 28, 2020, at 9:00 p.m. until further notice.  The Order directs all residents to “stay at their place of residence,” except to work for essential businesses or engage in certain essential activities.  Under Section 12 of the Order, “essential activities” include, among others, activities essential to an individual’s or family member’s (including pets) health and safety, obtaining necessary supplies, and engaging in outdoor activities. Section 13 of the Order defines “essential businesses,” which include, among others, all types of health care operations, government services, utilities, banks and credit unions, grocery stores, and mail and shipping services. To view the order, click here.

Douglas County 

Douglas County Board of Commissioners issued Emergency Ordinance 20-082 supporting the Douglas County Board of Health’s March 25, 2020 shelter in place order.  The ordinance declares that a local state of emergency exists and requires that all individuals living within Douglas County shelter in place from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and only leave their homes for essential activities, essential governmental functions or to operate essential businesses. Public and private gatherings of 10 or more outside a household are prohibited except as exempted by Section 6 of the ordinance. Sheltering in place is not required from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Section 6(f) defines “essential businesses” to include healthcare and infrastructure, grocery stores, food cultivation, media, gas stations and auto repair, banks, hardware stores, and restaurants that prepare food for delivery and carry out, among others. When using shared or outdoor spaces, individuals must maintain at least six feet of social distancing. All businesses except essential businesses may not operate from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. except for restocking, cleaning and preparation.  The order is in place until 11:59 p.m. on April 10, 2020. To view the ordinance, click here.

Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and the mayors of all 16 cities in Gwinnett have issued shelter-in-place orders for their jurisdictions. The County Order is in effect from 12:01 a.m. on March 28, 2020 through 11:59 p.m. on April 13, 2020.  The Order mandates that all businesses that operate in Gwinnett County cease all activity except for the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the businesses’ inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, and perform other related functions. This directive applies to for-profit, nonprofit, or private educational entities; it excludes essential businesses. Businesses consisting exclusively of employees or contractors who work from home may continue to operate. “Essential businesses” are defined in Section 5(F) of the Order and include, among many others, healthcare operations, grocery stores, banks and related financial institutions,  and businesses providing mail services.  The Gwinnett County Order may be viewed here.


March 26, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp signed an order allowing and directing the Commissioner of Labor to adopt emergency rules with respect to deductible earnings for unemployment insurance claims filed on or after March 14th, authorizing and directing the suspension of rules requiring the maximum unemployment benefits payable to an individual in a benefit year be limited to the lesser of one-fourth of the base period wages or fourteen to twenty times the individual’s weekly benefit amount, and authorizing and directing the adoption of emergency rules establishing the maximum unemployment benefits payable in a benefit year. The order may be viewed here.

Governor Kemp signed an order extending the previous closure of public schools through April 24, 2020. On April 1st, Governor Kemp extended this closure through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The order may be viewed here.


March 25, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp signed an order extending or suspending various deadlines related to driver’s licenses, identification cards and ignition interlock device requirements. The order may be viewed here.

Cherokee County

Cherokee County declared a local emergency until April 9, 2020. The order limits community gatherings of more than 10 people unless six feet of social distance is maintained.  Beginning March 26, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. until April 9, 2020 at 12:00 a.m., dining rooms are closed, but may continue to offer takeout or drive-through services.  Employers are encouraged to provide teleworking options.  The order also adopts the Governor’s stay at home order for vulnerable populations. The order may be viewed here.

Douglas County

Douglas County Board of Health issued an Executive Order effective from March 26, 2020 at noon to 11:59 p.m. on April 10th requiring that residents shelter in place except for essential activities and limiting hours for nonessential businesses from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The order may be viewed here.  Section 6(a) of the Order defines “Essential Activities” to include, among other things, obtaining medical care, food, or supplies required to work from home; outdoor activities; and performing services at an “Essential Business.”   Section 6(f) of the Order defines “Essential Businesses” as those providing “Essential Infrastructure,” including healthcare operations; grocery stores and supermarkets; banks and related financial institutions; and businesses or manufacturers that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate.

Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County declared a state of emergency closing various nonessential businesses and closing dining rooms but allowing takeout, delivery or drive-through. businesses closed under the order include fitness centers, live performance venues, arcades, and “similar establishments.”  The list can be found in Section (1) of Local Emergency Order No. 1-2. To learn more, click here.

Rockdale County

Rockdale County enacted a mandatory shelter in place ordinance that will go into effect on March 26th at 12:01 a.m. and expire April 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.  Nonessential businesses are required to cease all except minimum basic operations and residents are to shelter in place unless out for essential work or needs including food, medication or an essential medical need. Parks trails and facilities are closed. The ordinance may be viewed here.  “Essential businesses” include healthcare operations, banking and related financial institutions, grocery stores, and childcare facilities.  For a complete list, please refer to Section 7(f) of the ordinance.


March 24, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp called on Georgia businesses to provide critical items including N-95 masks or equivalent, air purifying machines, face shields, hair covers, hand sanitizer, hospital beds, gloves (various sizes – nitrile or latex-free), negative pressure machines, no-touch thermometers (regular if no-touch are not available), safety goggles, sanitation units, sanitizing spray, sanitizing wipes, shoe covers, surgical masks, Tyvek suits, and ventilators. Businesses are asked to complete an informational survey located here.

Governor Kemp signed an order reducing restrictions for child care learning centers and family child learning homes. The order allows these facilities to restrict families’ and guardians’ access to all areas of their facilities and to limit access to the front door or classroom. The order also eliminates the requirement of age-appropriate immunization records or an affidavit against immunization, specifies that no field trips shall occur, and lowers the CPR and First Aid training requirements to require at least one onsite staff member and one administrator having CPR and First Aid Certifications. The order may be viewed here.

Decatur

The Mayor of the City of Decatur has issued a stay at home order ceasing the operations of “non-essential” businesses, except for “Minimum Basic Operations” (defined in Section 4(c)(3) of the order as, among other things, the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, and process payroll).  To the extent non-essential businesses can continue operations remotely, they may do so. Section 5(c)(2) of the Order defines the term “essential businesses,” which includes, among other things, businesses and activities related to health and safety, grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks and related financial institutions. The order may be viewed here.

Clayton County

Clayton County amended its previous declaration of emergency effective March 16th and has closed government and administrative offices through April 12, 2020. All gatherings of 10 or more persons are prohibited in public areas.  The order may be viewed here.

Cobb County

Cobb County declared a state of emergency and ordered citizens to shelter in place starting at noon on March 25th.  Public gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited. Hours for nonessential businesses are cut to no earlier than 6:00 a.m. and no later than 9:00 p.m. except to allow for restocking, cleaning and preparation for the next day’s businesses. All businesses that remain open must maintain a distance of six feet between individuals. All dining rooms are closed, but take out and deliveries are still allowed. To view the order, click here.

Fulton County

Fulton County Department of Public works has made its permitting process entirely virtual.  All Land Review Login Application Forms and construction plans including cover sheets, utility information, and profile sheets should be submitted electronically. To view more information, click here.

Fulton County declared a state of emergency limiting gatherings or 10 or more people except if they are working in essential businesses.  To view more, click here.


March 23, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp signed an order requiring shelter in place for various higher risk populations (nursing home and long-term care facility residents, those with chronic lung disease, those undergoing cancer treatment and those included in the Department of Public Health Administrative Order 03.22.20.01), banned gatherings of more than 10 people if the gathering requires less than six feet of social distancing, and ordered bars and nightclubs closed. The order may be viewed here.

Governor Kemp expanded temporary licensing of certain medical professions to assist in the State’s response efforts. The order suspends the provisions prohibiting the practice or medicine by a licensee whose license in inactive or lapsed, but it is limited to those which lapsed or expired within the past five years and were not subject of a licensing board investigation and have no history of administrative action. Individuals may only provide treatment to victims of the COVID-19 health emergency. The Georgia Board of Nursing is authorized to grant temporary licenses to practice to graduate registered nurses and practice nurses who have yet to take their licensing exams. The order may be viewed here.

Atlanta

Atlanta Public Schools announced that schools will remain closed at least through April 13th and possibly beyond.  To view the announcement, click here.

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issued a shelter in place order effective midnight on March 24, 2020 for 14 days ending April 7th.  All businesses, unless defined as an essential business, must stop activities at their facilities except for minimum basic operations, but employees can continue working from home. “Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies” are allowed to continue services. Healthcare suppliers and home healthcare workers can continue working. Residents may still continue to leave their home for various reasons, including to exercise outside (parks and Atlanta BeltLine remain open), go to the grocery, pharmacy and hardware store, pick up food from a restaurant, and seek medical and veterinary services, among others. The order may be viewed here.

DeKalb County

DeKalb County issued a state of emergency order effective March 23rd prohibiting public gatherings of 10 or more people; asking individuals to shelter in place as much as possible and participate in a voluntary curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. except trips to work, for medical treatment, food, medication, or emergency; closing playgrounds; closing dining rooms but allowing take out; and limiting hours for nonessential businesses to  6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., among other provisions. “Essential businesses” include healthcare operations, government services, banks and credit unions, and many others.  The term is defined in Section 11 of the Executive Order.


March 20, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp signed an order reducing various regulations to assist in the response and also authorized a transfer of approximately $19.5M from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to cover costs associated with the COVID-19 health emergency.  The order may be viewed here.

Governor Kemp signed an order eliminating enforcement of strict compliance with notice provisions as it relates to the use of physician assistants, allowing the Georgia Composite Medical Board to adopt emergency rules to provide telemedicine licenses, and allowing Georgia pharmacists to dispense a 90-day supply of a drug if the patient has refills and the pharmacist cannot contact the issuing practitioner to obtain refill authorization. Georgia pharmacists may also dispense early refills.  These dispensations do not apply to Schedule II controlled substances. The order may be viewed here.


March 19, 2020

Atlanta

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issued two Executive Orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. The first orders the closure of all bars and nightclubs that do not serve food, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys, and arcades, and private social clubs, located within the territorial jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta. However, restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments where food is served may continue preparing and offering food to customers via delivery service, drive-through, or take-out. The first order may be viewed here. The second suspends the booting and towing of vehicles in the City right of way. The second order may be viewed here.


March 18, 2020

Atlanta

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms signed legislation allowing the City to temporarily reduce Concessionaire and Car Rental Company rental requirements for a period of four (4) months, ending on June 30, 2020. The learn more, click here.

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms closed Atlanta City Hall to essential and non-essential employees.


March 17, 2020

Georgia

The Georgia Supreme Court suspended filing deadlines through April 13, 2020. The notice may be viewed here.

Atlanta

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issued an Executive Order calling a temporary moratorium on residential evictions and filings for a period of sixty (60) days effective immediately. The order may be viewed here.

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issued an Executive Order creating a $7 million emergency fund. The order may be viewed here.


March 16, 2020

Georgia

The University System of Georgia moved to online instruction for the remainder of the semester. The notice may be viewed here.

Governor Kemp closed public schools from March 18 to March 31, 2020.  The order may be viewed here.

Atlanta

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that public assemblages, events and gatherings of 250, updated the same day to 50 or more persons within the City of Atlanta until March 31, 2020. The order may be viewed here.

Henry County

All Henry County Government Buildings, including Rec Centers and the Recycling Center, are closed. To learn more, click here.

Fayette County

Fayette County offices closed public access from March 16 through April 30th to limit social contact.  To learn more, click here.


March 14, 2020

Georgia

Governor Kemp declared a public health state of emergency and also authorized the call of the Georgia National Guard. The order allows the Georgia Composite Medical Board and Georgia Board of Nursing to grant temporary licenses to physicians and nurses with licenses in good standing in other states and also suspends the rules and regulations limiting hours of service for operators of commercial vehicles. There are also provisions relating to the weight, height and length of vehicles included in the order. The order may be viewed here.

The Georgia Supreme Court declared a statewide judicial emergency granting relief through April 13, 2020. The order may be viewed here.

Atlanta

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms announced the Centers of Hope Afterschool program will continue to provide free meals to all students who rely on them throughout the closure of schools. The order may be viewed here.


March 13, 2020

Atlanta

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms announced the City is implementing a full telework deployment for all non-essential employees through Tuesday, March 31, 2020. City Hall was closed to the general public.


March 11, 2020

Atlanta

City of Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issued an Administrative Order directing the Commissioner of Watershed Management to refrain from taking any action which would result in the termination of water services for the next 60 days. The order may be viewed here.

*Please also note that many counties and municipalities in the Atlanta metro have either partially or completed suspended residential eviction proceedings.*


Shelter in Place/Curfews*

  • The State of Georgia has statewide shelter in place order in effect from 6:00 p.m. on April 3, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2020.
  • Athens-Clarke County has a shelter in place order until April 7th.
  • Baldwin County has a curfew in place from 10 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. starting March 23rd at 10:00 p.m.
  • Camden County has a curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
  • Carroll County has a shelter in place order until April 12th.
  • Clayton County has a shelter in place order from 12:01 a.m. on April 1, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on April 12, 2020.
  • Cobb County has a shelter in place order beginning noon on March 25th until April 15th.
  • DeKalb County is asking individuals shelter in place as much as possible and participate in a voluntary curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning March 23rd.
  • Dougherty County has a shelter in place order beginning on March 21st.
  • Douglas County has a shelter in place order from March 26, 2020 at noon to 11:59 p.m. on April 10th
  • Floyd County has a shelter in place order through 11:59 p.m. on April 7th.
  • Fulton County has a shelter in place order beginning March 31, 2020 until rescinded.
  • Laurens County has a curfew between 10 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Rockdale County has a shelter in place ordinance that will go into effect on March 26th to April 8, 2020.
  • The City of Adel has a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
  • The City of Atlanta has a shelter in place order effective from midnight on March 24th for 14 days.
  • The City of Decatur has a stay at home order from March 25th through 11:59 p.m. on April 7th.
  • The City of Savannah has a shelter in place order through 11:59 p.m. on April 8th.
  • The City of South Fulton has a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
  • The City of Tucker has a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m..

To view a county-by-county guide from 11Alive, click here.

*This list may not be all-inclusive.

Below you will find links to the Governor’s Executive Orders and other notices related to COVID-19:

State of Georgia Response

City of Atlanta Response