Mike Griffin gives the legislative update regarding Governor Brian Kemp’s press conference Thursday, May 28.
Yesterday, Governor Brian Kemp held a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol to give an update on COVID-19. He announced that he would be extending the Public Health State of Emergency order through July 12.
This will be the third time since March 14 that the governor has renewed the State of Emergency. He reminded us how important this decision is when it comes to enhancing partnerships between the private and public sectors for the purpose of healthcare. He went on to further remind us of how important the State of Emergency is when it comes to providing flexibility for a cohesive response to needs across our state.
The governor also announced that he has signed a new executive order to extend specific safety precautions, outline guidance for overnight summer camps and summer school, and to outline important rules for reopening shuttered businesses. He also continued the shelter-in-place requirements for Georgians who are 65 and older or medically fragile through June 12, with exceptions as outlined in the order. To see the executive order, go here and click on “05.28.20.01.”
10 or more expanded to 25 or more
One major change to note is that the governor now mandates that any groups larger than 25 must observe social distancing. Previously, the requirement for social distancing were for gatherings of 10 or more. This allows for people to attend church or funerals – just like the original shelter-in-place order – as long as the requirement of social distancing is kept.
There is no new guidance for churches at this time (See Index Article on Churches). During the total shelter-in-place order, senior citizens were allowed to attend church as long as social distancing requirements were kept. That requirement has not changed and still allows for senior adults to attend church while following social distancing rules. (See video for more info on churches.)
Appreciation for faith leaders
By way of specifics, the governor expressed his appreciation for faith leaders and their leadership in churches to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. He went on to say:
“Many people have asked for guidance on attending in-person services at places of worship, especially in light of the President’s call to action for governors to reopen churches and religious facilities. Here in Georgia, we never closed places of worship, but we encouraged congregations to hold online or drive-in services to mitigate the risk of exposure. Now, many churches and religious institutions are beginning to reopen their doors for traditional services, and we ask Georgians to continue to heed public health advice if they decide to attend in-person. Please use social distancing, wash your hands, protect the elderly and medically fragile, and prioritize your health. Thank you again to the faith leaders who answered the call and held remote services as we battled the spread of coronavirus. Your leadership saved lives.”
The Georgia Baptist Mission Board staff has been working very hard to make sure that all of our churches have the necessary information and resources to reopen their worship services and activities safely. (See link here for more information.) It is important that churches strive for the highest standards of care in order to mitigate the spread of the virus and the possibility of civil litigation. This also shows congregations that churches care about both the physical and spiritual health of their members.
Two weeks ago, Governor Kemp gave the requirements of camps for overnight stay, but he did not allow for them to take place. With the new executive order, he is allowing the regulations regarding overnight stays to go into effect as of May 31. Summer camp requirements and childcare requirements may also be applied to church activities that involve children and youth. See Index Article for further instruction.
In closing, let me say we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to living in the state of Georgia under the leadership of Governor Brian Kemp. Note these final words from him: “Across the Peach State, businesses are reopening their doors with robust safety precautions in place, and customers are slowly – but surely – returning. This progress is encouraging as we fight to stop the spread and revive our economy. But the status quo is never acceptable. We cannot rest on our laurels. From Day One of this journey, we have used data, science, and the advice of healthcare professionals like Dr. Toomey to chart our path forward. Our next step – like the ones before – puts the health and well-being of the citizenry first.”
God bless you all, be safe and keep proclaiming the gospel!