ATLANTA — Owners of bars, nightclubs and other live performance venues in Georgia can expect to remain closed a bit longer.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday he is extending the closure of such businesses as well as extending COVID-19 guidelines for open businesses through May 31.
“I know this extension is difficult for many Georgia business owners and communities that have music venues,” Kemp said. “However, we believe that waiting a little bit longer will enhance health outcomes and gives folks the opportunity to prepare for safe reopening in the near future.”
The ban on gatherings of more than 10 people for local governments and recreational activities will remain in place, and Georgians are also “strongly encouraged” to continue wearing face masks in public.
Customer restrictions for restaurants have been flexed to 10 patrons per 300 square feet from the previously ordered 10 patrons per 500 square feet, and limits on party sizes was increased from six to 10 people.
Elderly Georgians and people who are medically fragile are still under a shelter-in-place order until June 12.
Kemp addressed the issue of childcare for parents who are starting to return to work — increasing the allowed number of people in a childcare facility from 10 to 20 as long as the facility adheres to the required staff to child ratio.
Although Georgia is moving forward with opening summer camps — under soon-to-be released Centers for Disease Control and Infection guidelines; however, overnight camps are banned until further notice.
Kemp said Georgia will start phasing some state agencies back to limited in-person working.
The state is still conducting aggressive infection control in nursing home facilities with 3,100 National Guardsmen deployed to long-term care facilities throughout Georgia. Kemp said the White House has advised states to make sure they are on top of testing at those facilities.
As of Tuesday, Kemp said, National Guardsmen have tested 46% of residents and 24% of staff out of all the nursing homes in the state. The state estimates there are still 46,000 residents and staff who still need to be tested.
“As we aggressively test more nursing homes and long-term care facilities, we may see a sharper increase, increase in positive test results,” Kemp said. “However, by doing this, it will allow medical providers to intervene earlier and try and mitigate adverse outcomes among the most vulnerable of our citizens.”
As of Tuesday, nursing home residents and staff make up 18% of Georgia’s total positive COVID-19 cases and 49% of related deaths.