ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp has once again extended the coronavirus restrictions in place for much of the state for another 15 days.
The latest executive order extends the current COVID-19 restrictions - including limited occupancy - in place for businesses, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and others.
The shelter in place provisions for people who live in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile also remain in place, however, the order does allow for new guidance for relaxing restrictions at long-term care facilities.
Under the latest order, people required to shelter in place in long-term care facilities may be soon allowed to engage in certain activities - including visitations - approved by the State of Georgia Department of Public Health's Reopening Guidance Administrative Order.
According to that order from the DPH, decisions about relaxing restrictions at a care facility need to consider several things, including cases in the community, cases at the facility and adequate local hospital capacity.
A facility that wishes to reopen would, under the DPH guidelines, need to submit written plans to support their reasoning for reopening and include specifics about infection control and mitigation and publish it for its residents. The facility would also need to have an established testing plan, adequate staffing, access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Visitations would be considered under a three-phase approach, with Phase I being the most restrictive to outside visits.
Meanwhile, the governor's new order also adds language to clearly authorize community and state ombudsmen - someone who investigates, reports on and helps settle complaints - to perform inspections at long-term care facilities.
Meanwhile, the order continues to allow for a local option for requiring face coverings - with limitations. The order also continues to include a ban of gatherings of more than 50 people unless social distancing is maintained.
The latest order takes effect on midnight Sep. 16 and will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30.
As for the public health state of emergency that was set to expire on Sept. 10, that has been renewed for another 30 days, and will now end on Oct. 10 - unless it is renewed once again by Kemp.