Governor extends Georgia's COVID-19 restrictions

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Gov. Brian Kemp has extended new coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

ATLANTA — After Georgia saw a record high in new coronavirus (COVID-19) case numbers during the weekend, Gov. Brian Kemp extended restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

The initial order was set to expire Tuesday if it was not renewed. The extension of the state of emergency runs through Aug 11.

Requirements for businesses and shelter-in-place for medically fragile expires July 15.

In two new executive orders signed Monday, Kemp extended Georgia's Public Health State of Emergency and coronavirus sanitation requirements for open businesses.

"As we continue our fight against COVID-19 in Georgia, it is vital that Georgians continue to heed public health guidance by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly and practicing social distancing," Kemp said in a statement.

The extension of the state of emergency grants Kemp continued use of additional powers to dedicate state agencies and funds to pandemic response.

Businesses are required to meet sanitation and limited capacity standards through July 15. A ban on gatherings of more than 50 people is still in place and a shelter-in-place order for medically fragile and long-term care facilities is still in effect.

The new order also outlines that the state board of education must provide "rules, regulations and guidance for the operation of public elementary and secondary schools for local boards of education" in line with guidance from the Department of Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Kemp's new orders come as Georgia's case total climbed during the weekend and set the record for increase overnight Sunday.

As of Monday, Georgia added 2,207 coronavirus cases overnight — reaching 79,417 total cases and 2,784 related deaths.

"While we continue to see a decreasing case fatality rate, expanded testing, and adequate hospital surge capacity, in recent days, Georgia has seen an increase in new cases reported and current hospitalizations," Kemp said. "Given these trends, I am extending previous COVID-19 safety requirements and guidelines that were due to expire on June 30 at 11:59 p.m."

Riley Bunch covers the Georgia Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites.

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