Atlanta, GA – Earlier this week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an Executive Order to relax restrictions placed on certain businesses as part of the COVID-19 health crisis. The Order is clear that requirements are statewide and that local governments cannot make them more or less restrictive.
Under the Order, the following businesses are allowed to reopen on Friday, April 24, 2020 provided they follow specific measures to “mitigate the exposure and spread” of COVID-19:
- Fitness centers
- Bowling alleys
- Body art studios (defined in Code Section 31-40-2)
- Estheticians (defined in Code Section 41-10-1(8)
- Hair designers (defined in Code Section 41-10-1(9)
- Licensed massage therapists (defined in Code Section 43-24A-8)
The reopening of these businesses should not be viewed as a return to “business as usual.” The specific measures outlined by the Governor that must be followed in order to reopen include:
- Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath
- Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness not to report to work or to seek medical attention
- Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate
- Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location
- Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the work within the business location
- Prohibiting gathering of workers during working hours
- Permitting employees to take breaks and meals outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distance is obtainable
- Implementing teleworking for all possible workers
- Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers
- Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible
- Delivering intangible services remotely, wherever possible
- Discouraging workers from using other workers phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment
- Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace
- Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas that are likely to be seen
- Suspending the use of Personal Identification Number (PIN) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent that such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies
- Enforcing social distancing of non-cohabitating persons while present on such entity’s leased or owned property
- For retailers and service providers, providing for alternative points of sale outside the buildings, including curbside pickup or delivery of products and/or services if an alternative point of sale is permitted under Georgia Law
- Increasing physical space between workers and customers
- Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workplaces, equipment and tools
- Increasing physical space between workers’ worksites to at least six (6) feet.
The Order reinforces that entities not defined as “Critical Infrastructure” are prohibited from allowing more than ten (10) persons to be gathered at a single location, if people are required to stand or be seated within six (6) feet of each other.
Some additional details:
- Elective healthcare procedures are cleared to resume treating patients and are not subject to the “Minimum Basic Operations”
- The Governor has stated that restaurant dine-in services, theaters and private social clubs can reopen on Monday, April 27th. Additional information about guidelines for that to happen have not been released as of 4/22.
- Although some businesses are being allowed to reopen, the “Shelter in Place” order remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 30th. This means those not reporting to work, conducting business with a business allowed to be open under the order, going out to purchase supplies or food, going to a medical provider, caring for another, or going out for exercise should remain at home.
- Medically fragile and elderly Georgians should continue to shelter in place at least through May 13th, the date Georgia’s Public Health Emergency expires, unless it’s extended.
- In person church services have never been banned under the Governor’s Shelter in Place Order, provided congregations can practice social distancing and have implemented enhanced sanitation procedures.