Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Georgia, US, to further ease restrictions to stem spread of COVID-19 starting May 31. Other directives remain in place.

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 30 May 2020 09:43 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Jun 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 announced that additional restrictions will be relaxed May 31-June 1 as part of the state's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan. Some restrictions will remain in place, such as requirements for residents 65 years and older, as well as persons with underlying conditions, to remain at home, except to perform essential tasks, through June 12. Live performance venues and amusement parks will remain closed. Schools statewide will remain closed to in-person lessons through the end of the school year. The following restrictions will be eased:

  • Overnight summer camps may reopen from May 31 if they meet specific criteria.
  • From June 1, the number of people permitted at gatherings will increase to 25 people in a single location, while keeping 6 feet (1.8 meters) between each other.
  • Bars and nightclubs may reopen from June 1 provided they meet a list of mandatory measures, including but not limited to screening workers for illness, limiting the number of people in the building to 25 people or 35 percent of total occupancy, requiring the facility to be thoroughly and regularly sanitized, only serving drinks to seated patrons or those in designated areas, and preventing patrons from congregating.
  • Professional and amateur sports may resume from June 1 under strict guidelines.


Georgia had implemented several earlier rounds of relaxations since April 24, enabling several types of businesses to reopen in addition to essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and those in the media, security, transport, and critical manufacturing sectors. This includes fitness centers, personal care businesses, theaters, private clubs, some retailers, childcare centers, and limited dine-in services at restaurants.

All operating businesses and facilities must comply with certain mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, including enhancing sanitation procedures, adhering to social distancing standards, and performing health screening on workers and customers, among other things. Specific requirements may vary by industry. Businesses are still encouraged to keep employees working from home whenever possible. Transport and business disruptions are likely to persist even as commercial activity resumes. All measures are subject to amendment at short notice, depending on local disease activity.

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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