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Kemp issues new COVID-19 executive order addressing ventilation in restaurants, license extensions

The order includes a number of provisions concerning the state's ongoing COVID guidelines.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp issued a new executive order outlining Georgia's COVID-19 guidelines, with some new provisions pertaining to restaurants and businesses as well as driver and gun licenses.

The new executive order was issued on Monday. This order is slated to remain in effect until Feb. 28 at 11:59 p.m., though the governor has frequently altered or extended orders before their deadlines throughout the pandemic.

According to a release from the Governor's Office, the main new things to look out include a new requirement for restaurants and other non-critical businesses to "ensure their ventilation systems operate properly, in response to data showing that increased air circulation and purification reduce the spread of COVID-19." 

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The specific language of the order states restaurants shall: "Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation and purification of air within facilities as practicable."

According to the governor's release, the order also "modifies sanitation guidance for businesses and events in accordance with data on the novel coronavirus' ability to spread from surface contact." Research has increasingly indicated COVID isn't likely to spread much via surfaces.

Regarding licenses, the governor's release said the order contains a provision "to allow an individual to apply for a renewal of their weapons carry license up to 120 days after the expiration date" if it expires during the pandemic.

Lawful noncitizen residents are also allowed to apply for 120-day temporary driving permits or ID cards "if they have a valid Georgia license or ID that expired on or after March 14, 2020" and "if they have a request for extension of lawful residency pending" with the federal government. They may apply for additional 120-day permits if they've already been granted one.

"This provision is being made in response to the continued extended delays these residents are experiencing in receiving their lawful residency extensions from federal agencies," the governor's release said.