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Updated Georgian’s Guide to State Wide Shelter in Place Order for COVID-19

UPDATED 4/10/2020 Based Upon Executive Order: extending the Shelter in Place Order.
UPDATED 4/4/2020 Based Upon  Executive Orders: and as well as The FAQ Issued by the Governor’s Office (Note that this FAQ was issued before the two Executive Orders of April 3, 2020) – Updates are in Red
On April 1, 2020, Georgia’s Governor announced the issuance of a Statewide Shelter in Place Order due to COVID-19, which was released April 2, 2020, and will go in to effect April 3, 2020, at 6:00 p.m.  This order will be in place until April 13, 2020 April 30, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
Violations of the Governor’s order can result in a maximum penalty of up to twelve months in jail and a $1,000 fine, plus surcharges.  This means that members of the public and businesses should be mindful of violations of this order.
Georgia’s new Shelter in Place Order has a lot of provisions that impact businesses as well as individuals.  I’m focusing on the impacts to individuals and not businesses in this post.  I may provide additional updates, as time allows, but I wanted to get this live as quickly as possible for those who need to know what they can and can’t do as residents of and visitors to Georgia.
For impacts on businesses, I would recommend reading this: FAQ Issued by the Governor’s Office(Note that this FAQ was issued before the two Executive Orders of April 3, 2020)

The post will answer the following questions:

How does this Order interact with other local County or City Orders?

Governor Kemp’s Order basically suspends all local city and county orders that conflict or differ from his Order.  This means you should focus on what the statewide Order requires and not what you may have previously read about your local county or city orders.  Counties and cities can issue new orders that are designed to enforce compliance with the Governor’s Order, but there shouldn’t be any distinctions between the rules across the state.

How does this Order interact with other Court Orders (including Custody Agreements)?

All court orders, including custody orders, remain in full force and effect.  You are still required to comply with any court order that is in place, unless otherwise modified by the court.

Who does the Order apply to?

The Order applies to all residents and visitors of the State of Georgia.

What are the requirements under this Order?

Everyone covered by the Order is required to:

  • Practice Social Distancing as outlined in the Order and based on the guidelines published by the Center for Disease Control
  • Shelter in place in their place of residence
  • Take every possible precaution to limit social interaction
  • Not receive visitors

What are the general exceptions to the requirements?

You are allowed to deviate from the terms of the Order if you are engaged in “Essential Services,” which means:

  • obtaining necessary supplies and services for family or household members, which include:
    • food and supplies for household consumption and use
    • medical supplies or medications
    • supplies and equipment needed to work from home
    • products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence
  • engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of family or other household members, which includes:
    • seeking medical services
    • seeking behavioral health services
    • seeking other emergency services
    • all activities that may preserve the health and welfare of persons within the State
  • the transportation, visitation, and regular care of:
    • family members
    • persons dependent on the services of others
    • children
    • elderly
    • disabled persons
  • any similar actions to those above that ensure the welfare and best interests of persons in the State of Georgia
  • engaging in outdoor exercise so long as a minimum of 6 feet is maintained between all people (except people who occupy the same residence or household) during the activities, which has been further clarified to include:
    • visiting state parks
    • playing sports outside (including golf)

When engaging in Essential Services, everyone should continue to observe social distancing as much as possible when interacting with people you don’t live with.
In obtaining necessary supplies, the Order encourages people to order online, have home delivery, and use curbside pick-up whenever possible to avoid in-store shopping.
There is an exception in the event of an emergency.  If you have an emergency in your residence, you are encouraged to leave the residences and shelter in place in an alternate safe location.
There are no exceptions for church services or funeral services, unless there are 6 feet between all persons at all times during these services.
Additionally, Order authorizes the Office of the Governor to issue more guidance on the scope of “Essential Services” through other methods of communication, including social media, without issuing additional executive orders.

When can I travel under this order?

You are allowed to travel as needed to preform the “Essential Services” outlined above, as well as some other business related purposes that are not covered in this version of the blog post.

What are the exceptions to the provisions regarding visitors?

The provision that prohibits visitors, includes the following exceptions:

  • Visitors who are providing:
    • medical services;
    • behavioral health services;
    • emergency services;
    • medical supplies;
    • medication;
    • in home hospice;
    • support for the person to conduct activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living;
    • necessary supplies and services, such as:
      • food and supplies for household consumption and use;
      • supplies and equipment needed to work from home;
      • products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of a residence
  • Visitors received during end-of-life circumstances.

Even with these exceptions, visitors are expected to maintain the 6 foot minimum distance between themselves and the occupants of the residence, to the extent practicable.
Any visitors who are delivering any of the above should deliver them without in-person contact and without entering the person’s residence, whenever practicable.
It should also be noted that the Order specifically states that the provisions about visitors and their exceptions will be strictly enforced against:

  • nursing homes;
  • inpatient hospice facilites;
  • assisted living communities;
  • personal care homes;
  • intermediate care homes;
  • community living arrangements;
  • community integration homes; and
  • other long term care facilities.

How is this order going to be enforced?

It is clear from the language of the Order that the Governor is not writing this Order with the purpose of trying to get people charged with a crime.  The Order encourages law enforcement and other agents who are enforcing this Order to take reasonable steps to provide notice of the violation prior to issuing a citation or making an arrest.  However, the Governor has made it clear that all law enforcement in the State is now authorized to enforce the executive orders, except those to mandate the closure of any businesses.  The ability to mandate the closure of any business, non-profit, or organization is limited to officials deputized by the Governor, Georgia Emergency Management, and Homeland Security Agency.  As of Executive Order, the Governor has deputized all Sheriffs and their deputies to enforce this provision.
Regardless of that, a violation of the Order can result in either a citation or an arrest for a misdemeanor.  The maximum penalty for a violation of this Order is up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Outside of the immediate punishment, this charge or conviction has the potential to create a lifetime criminal record for the person charged.
If you or a loved is charged with violating Georgia’s Shelter in Place Order, contact our team at 770-824-9243 to see if we can help avoid a lifetime criminal record.

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