Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Georgia, US, extend shelter-in-place order for vulnerable residents through June 12, lift some business restrictions.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Macon-Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Waycross, Georgia
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Moultrie, Georgia
  • La Grange, Georgia

This alert began 01 May 2020 17:46 GMT and is scheduled to expire 13 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Georgia (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June
  • Impact: Significant business and transport disruptions

Summary
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has issued an executive order requiring residents 65 years and older, as well as persons with underlying health conditions, to remain at home except to perform essential tasks until at least June 12 as part of the state's efforts to curb coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order stipulates that these residents may only leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, or go to work at an essential business or service. They may also engage in outdoor recreational activities, provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines. A similar shelter-in-place order for all residents expired April 30. However, authorities encouraged residents to stay home as much as possible, starting May 1.

Governor Kemp had previously lifted restrictions to allow certain businesses, including gyms and fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, and hair salons, to reopen starting April 24, provided they comply with certain special mandates on sanitation, social distancing, protective equipment for employees, and other requirements. Businesses are also encouraged to keep employees working from home whenever possible. Authorities also allowed the reopening of in-person services in theaters, private social clubs, and restaurants since April 27. The state government has left it to the discretion of healthcare providers as to when elective surgeries and other nonemergency medical procedures that had been temporarily suspended may resume. Schools statewide will remain closed to in-person lessons through the end of the school year. Park visitors centers and museums remain closed. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and those in media, security, transport, and critical manufacturing, may continue operating. All businesses must operate with social distancing measures and enhanced sanitation, through at least May 13.

Significant transport and business disruptions will likely continue. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing remaining restrictions. Officials could amend the order at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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