Today, Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp has lifted all remaining COVID restrictions in Georgia, declaring “Georgia is open for business.”

Governor Kemp’s executive order ends a ban on large gatherings, eliminates shelter-in-place requirements, and reduces any remaining distance requirements at restaurants, bars, and movie theaters and between people at group fitness classes.

“We know hard-working Georgians cannot endure another year like that last. That is why beginning tomorrow we are loosening the remaining restrictions on our economy here in Georgia,” Kemp said in a video statement Wednesday.

Additionally, restaurant tables now must be only 3.5 feet (1.07 meters) apart without partitions, instead of the previous 6 feet (1.83 meters), and there’s no longer a 50-person limit on gatherings when people are closer than 6 feet, which could allow larger indoor concerts and conventions. He also says vulnerable residents no longer have to stay home under a shelter-in-place order.

Kemp’s executive order eliminates the ability of law enforcement to close businesses for failure to comply with Executive Order provisions.

Even though President Joe Biden has warned against re-opening states too quickly as unmasked face-to-face contact, coupled with coronavirus mutations threatens to slow the progress in the fight to end the pandemic, Kemp’s executive action emphasizes it’s time for the state to get back to business. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged there is COVID-19 fatigue in America.

“We’re really on the brink of a surge,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday. “That would be a setback for public health, but that could be a psychological setback, too … we just don’t want to have to go back to really shutting things down.”

Earlier this week, Governor Kemp announced the state hit a milestone 4 million vaccines administered, including more than 1 million doses of vaccine were administered in a 15-day period in Georgia.

“As our COVID-19 numbers continue to trend in the right direction, and with all Georgians, age 16 or over now eligible to receive the vaccine, Dr. Toomey and I are now encouraging everyone to roll up their sleeve and get their shot so we can continue making steady progress to return to our way of life in the Peach State,” Kemp said.

28% of Georgia residents have received at least one dose of vaccination, according to the CDC. But the share of Georgians who have been vaccinated remains among the lowest nationwide, below the national average of 33%. That’s far short of the 70% or more than many experts say would achieve the herd immunity needed to protect people still vulnerable to infection.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp adjusts his face mask during a COVID-19 update press conference at the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.