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Limits on public gatherings relaxed as Kemp allows more businesses to resume operations in Georgia

Here is a wrap up of the most important developments.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp is moving forward with reopening Georgia, as he announced new moves to allow more public activity to resume across the state.

Though the governor announced that he is extending the public health emergency through July 12, Kemp said that the state will allow an increase in the number of people at public gatherings, bars and restaurants to reopen, limited sporting operations, and some summer classes. Kemp said he made the decision based on what he called "favorable data."

Most of those moves come with strict guidelines, Kemp said. Here is a wrap up of the most important developments:

Number limit on public gatherings relaxed

For several weeks, gatherings of more than 10 people in a single location had been banned in the state unless the six feet of social distancing was able to be observed. With new measures, Kemp said  that limit would be bumped up to 25 on June 1, opening the door to small weddings, recreational sports and similar events to resume. 

Live performance venues remain closed

While the new guidelines will provide more flexibility for some entertainment venues like bars and nightclubs to reopen, live performance venues are still closed.

"I know that these closures are tough on business owners and these employees, but we will continue to watch the data for the health and safety of our citizens," Kemp said, while adding that they are working with those business owners to support them.

Bars and nightclubs can reopen

Starting June 1, bars and nightclubs can begin to reopen, if they comply with "strict sanitation and social distancing rules, all crafted to reflect industry practices and mitigate health risks," Kemp said. 

In order to reopen, Kemp said bars and nightclubs will need to meet 39 mandatory measures to "ensure patron well-being." Among those measures are screenings for employees, limiting the number of people in the building (25 people or 35 percent of total occupancy), regular and thorough sanitizings, only serving drinks to seated patrons, limiting party sizes to six people and limiting the ability for congregating.

Amateur and professional sports can resume

Beginning June 1, professional sports team are allowed to resume operations, but must follow the guidelines set forth by their respective sports leagues. 

As for amateur sports resuming, Kemp said they must follow guidelines for non-critical infrastructure organizations set forth in previous orders. 

Summer camps and summer schools

Kemp said schools and districts can begin holding summer school for students next month, if they comply with 11 mandatory criteria.

That includes screening workers and students for illness, enhancing campus sanitation, encouraging healthy sanitation and keeping students separated.

"We know first-hand how important it is for some students to be able to return to campus for in-person instruction and these measures will accomplish that goal without compromising safety," Kemp said. 

Overnight summer camps, meanwhile, can resume starting May 31, if they meet 33 mandatory criteria for reopening set forth by non-critical infrastructure guidelines.

Amusement parks, traveling carnivals

Operators of amusement park rides, traveling carnivals, water parks, circuses and others like them may not resume operations until June 12.

To open at that time, they must comply with 33 mandatory criteria set forth by non-critical infrastructure guidelines. 

In-person worship services

After weeks of worship services being held virtually, churches are now starting to reopen their doors to their congregations.

Kemp asked that they continue to follow healthy practices like social distancing, washing hands protecting the elderly and medically fragile.

"We ask that Georgian continue to heed the pub health advice if they decide to attend in person," Kemp asked.

Watch the full briefing below

With the new measures in place, Kemp said Georgians still need to heed the advice of public health experts, including washing their hands, wearing masks and continuing to protect the elderly and medically fragile. 

"Please continue to follow the public health advice as you engage in these activities," Kemp said.

Kemp added that they would like to see people comply with the guidelines, but that state officials will enforce them if they are not being followed.

"We realize a lot of these things are not easy, sometimes people may not understand them for the most part in the high 90 percent of people they have been trying to comply with guideline, and we've been giving them guidance," Kemp said. "For the other people, we've been issuing verbal warnings, but if we have large crowds that are out of control, we will take much stronger action than that."

"We're not going to put up with people putting Georgians' health in jeopardy," Kemp added.

Read the full executive order and what guidelines they entail here.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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