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Governor Kemp Issues Executive Order Reopening Certain Businesses in Georgia

Posted on: April 22nd, 2020

By: Andrew Kim

On April 20, 2020, Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order that will impact certain businesses in Georgia. The new Executive Order reopens some businesses previously closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and removes certain restrictions for other types of businesses as well.

Here are some key provisions:

Health-Related Practices and Services Not Subject to Minimum Basic Operations Restrictions:

The following practices and services are not subject to the Minimum Basic Operations restrictions. Instead, these practices and services “should consider implementing the operational guidelines provided in Executive Order 04.02.20.01 for Critical Infrastructure:”

  • Medical practices
  • Dental practices
  • Orthodontics practices
  • Optometry practices
  • Physical therapists
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers
  • Physicians performing elective surgeries
  • Healthcare Institutions
  • Medical Facilities
  • Any and all other healthcare-related practices and services that have elected to cease operations because of the spread of COVID-19.

The Executive Order urges these practices and services begin treating patients as soon as possible in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines, and the provisions of his April 20, 2020 Executive Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Reopening of Certain Businesses Effective April 24, 2020:

The Executive Order reopens the following businesses on Friday, April 24, 2020:

  • Gyms
  • Fitness Centers
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Body Art Studios
  • Businesses registered pursuant to Code Sections 43-10-11 and 43-10-18
    • Beauty Shops
    • Beauty Salons
    • Barber Shops
    • Schools of Cosmetology
    • Schools of Hair Design
    • Schools of Esthetics
    • Schools of Nail Care
    • Schools of Barbering
  • Individuals who, for compensation, engage in the practice of esthetics (massages, trims, dyeing, etc.), or cosmetic skincare.
  • Hair Designers
  • Persons who practice Massage Therapy

However, these businesses must implement the following in-person Minimum Basic Operations in order to reopen:

  1. Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
  2. Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention;
  3. Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
  4. Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
  5. Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location;
  6. Prohibiting gatherings of workers during working hours;
  7. Permitting workers to take breaks and lunch outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable;
  8. Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
  9. Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
  10. Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible;
  11. Delivering intangible services remotely wherever possible;
  12. Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
  13. Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace;
  14. Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen;
  15. 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 such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies;
  16. Enforcing social distancing for non-cohabitating persons on their property;
  17. For retailers and service providers, providing for alternative points of sale outside of buildings, including curbside pickup or delivery of products and/or services if an alternative point of sale is permitted under Georgia law;
  18. Increasing physical space between workers and customers;
  19. Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workspace, equipment, and tools; and
  20. Increasing physical space between workers’ worksites to at least six (6) feet.

The April 20, 2020 Executive Order includes the same language and restrictions from the previous April 2, 2020 Executive Order. This language and restriction states that all businesses, non-profits, and county and municipal governments, other than those defined as “Critical Infrastructure,” shall restrict gatherings to ten (10) individuals at a single location if “such gathering requires persons to stand or be seated within six (6) feet of any other person.”

Reopening of Other Businesses Effective April 27, 2020:

Governor Kemp’s April 20, 2020 Executive Order does not include any provisions that reopen or lift restrictions for:

  • Restaurant dine-in services;
  • Private Social Clubs; and
  • Theaters

However, during his press conference on April 20, 2020, Governor Kemp announced that the above businesses will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27, 2020, should those businesses comply with specific social distancing and sanitation mandates. The Governor’s Office will be issuing these additional mandates for these businesses in the next few days.

Governor Kemp stated in his press conference that the following businesses will remain closed:

  • Bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Operators of Amusement Park Rides
  • Live Performance Venues

So What Next?

Employers that are planning on reopening their business based on Governor Kemp’s April 20, 2020 Order should immediately begin assessing the health and safety protocols they have in place now for employees and what additional steps they need to take to implement the protocols identified by the April 20 Order.  Further, we recommend that employers consult with their counsel to evaluate any industry or location-specific measures that should be taken to reduce any concerns by customers of contracting COVID-19 when visiting the employer’s establishment. 

Additional Information:

The FMG Coronavirus Task Team will be conducting a series of webinars on Coronavirus issues on a regular basis. Topics include returning to the workplace, business interruption coverage and more. Click here to view upcoming webinars.

FMG has formed a Coronavirus Task Force to provide up-to-the-minute information, strategic advice, and practical solutions for our clients.  Our group is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys who can address the multitude of legal issues arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, including issues related to Healthcare, Product Liability, Tort Liability, Data Privacy, and Cyber and Local Governments.  For more information about the Task Force, click here.

You can also contact your FMG relationship partner or email the team with any questions at [email protected].

**DISCLAIMER:  The attorneys at Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP (“FMG”) have been working hard to produce educational content to address issues arising from the concern over COVID-19.  The webinars and our written material have produced many questions. Some we have been able to answer, but many we cannot without a specific legal engagement.  We can only give legal advice to clients.  Please be aware that your attendance at one of our webinars or receipt of our written material does not establish an attorney-client relationship between you and FMG.  An attorney-client relationship will not exist unless and until an FMG partner expressly and explicitly states IN WRITING that FMG will undertake an attorney-client relationship with you, after ascertaining that the firm does not have any legal conflicts of interest.  As a result, you should not transmit any personal or confidential information to FMG unless we have entered into a formal written agreement with you.  We will continue to produce education content for the public, but we must point out that none of our webinars, articles, blog posts, or other similar material constitutes legal advice, does not create an attorney client relationship and you cannot rely on it as such.  We hope you will continue to take advantage of the conferences and materials that may pertain to your work or interests.**

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