Governor Brian Kemp announces updated restrictions related to the coronavirus crisis at the Georgia State Capitol on April 8. Standing at right is Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.
ATLANTA — Yesterday, Governor Brian Kemp held a Georgia Emergency Management Briefing at the Georgia State Capitol. He expressed his appreciation for all the things that hard-working Georgians are doing daily to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In case you missed the briefing, here’s a quick link.
The highlights of the briefing including two extensions. The Public Health State of Emergency has been extended through May 13. In addition, the Shelter-in-Place Order has been extended through April 30.
There are also three major updates:
Stricter infection controls have been mandated for long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. These centers house some of the most vulnerable citizens in our population in regards the coronavirus.
In addition, 1,000 more Georgia National Guard troops will be activated. These additional troops will bring the total to 3,000. These troops are helping around the state regarding the various needs caused by the virus.
Lastly, short-term vacation rentals will be banned through April 30. The governor said that, although Georgia should be perceived as a vacation destination, there are certain measures that are being exercised for our safety. He added that the main reason he allowed the beaches to remain open was for the purpose of citizens being able to exercise and to spend some time outdoors with the proper precautions.
He did not make any additional requirements regarding churches and their services. However, he did say he was going to be addressing those requirements later this week.
There is a case in Statesboro where a church has not been cooperating with law-enforcement regarding social distancing when meeting. The governor said that he never wants to have to shut down a church for its lack of cooperation, and he hopes that there will never be a need to do that. He hopes it will be an encouragement for pastors and churches to understand his intent more fully.
Overall, I am so thankful for Georgia Baptist churches and encouraged by how they have been cooperating with the requirements regarding church meetings. The governor appeared on a Georgia Baptist webinar last Friday to answer questions and help churches know how important he believes they are during this very difficult time in our state. I hope you will review that webinar and follow the guidelines and recommendations from the governor’s office. Remember the main takeaway is to be wise during this time.
Please stay tuned as we hope to update you with any further developments impacting churches.