Today governor Brian Kemp had a press conference to outline plans to ease social distancing restrictions and restart Georgia's economy. The governor discussed plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of the economy and entities. See conference here.
The governor said that “given the favorable data, enhanced testing, and approval of our healthcare professionals, we will allow gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists to reopen their doors this Friday, April 24.”
The governor also said that based on specific social distancing and sanitation mandates, theaters, private social clubs, and restaurant dine-in services would be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27. He went on to say that more information would be given by the end of the week. He did not allow for bars, nightclubs, operators of amusement park rides, and live performance venues to open back up. Also, he pointed out that actions by local governments cannot be more or less restrictive than what the state is requiring.
Regarding churches, the governor stated that person to person services will be allowed as long as proper distancing rules are kept. This requirement is technically what was already being required of churches. The governor still recommends that churches only do online services and drive-in services.
There will be a conference call with the Governor’s Office at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 21 for Georgia Baptist pastors to find out more information. Scott Smith and myself will speak with Brad Hughes, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee for Georgia Baptists and director of Field Operations for Governor Brian Kemp. We will discuss Governor Kemp's April 20 press conference and what this phase of "opening Georgia" means for churches.
Moving forward is going to require Georgia Baptist churches to use common-sense procedures to keep the social distancing regulations required by the governor. These are the same rules that were given out when the shelter-in-place order was given earlier in the month.
Please stay tuned as we update you with guidelines and procedures that will help your church in moving forward.
This story was updated at 7:40 a.m. April 21.
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