Governor bans large gatherings, orders shelter-in-place for medically fragile

Gov. Brian Kemp has banned gatherings of 10 or more people, closed bars and nightclubs,  and ordered the “medically fragile” to shelter-in-place until April 6 to combat coronavirus (COVID-19).

Kemp said he had empowered the Georgia Department of Public Health to close businesses and nonprofits, which includes churches, not in compliance with the order.

The medically fragile includes those in longtime care, who have chronic lung disease, undergoing cancer treatment, or those who have suspected or diagnosed cases of COVID-19 or might have been exposed to someone who has it.

Kemp has been under pressure to impose more restrictions and there have even been petitions calling on the governor to close non-essential businesses and order a statewide shelter-in-place order for everyone. The governor’s actions tonight are sure to enrage doctors across the state who have been calling on Kemp for more stringent measures.

During his 5 p.m. press conference, Kemp said testing for COVID-19 would still be limited to high-risk individuals. He also touted the healthcare action the state is taking including getting more masks and ventilators to hospitals who have high cases of coronavirus, allowing pharmacists to give early 90-day medication refills, and said members of the Georgia National Guard would begin training with Grady Health System for potential deployment.

Kemp also moved Georgia’s tax filing deadline to July 15 and said those who receive SNAP benefits would be getting an extra $100 for food.

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