I know that you all have been watching the news over the past week regarding COVID-19 and the impact it is currently having on our state. As I am sure you are aware, on March 14, Gov. Kemp declared a public health state of emergency in Georgia. Since then, he has issued a variety of executive orders that are designed to allow our state and our local communities to respond quickly to challenges that COVID-19 will present.
On March 20, Kemp issued a set of executive orders that authorized a transfer of almost $20 million from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to help support the state in fighting COVID-19 and reduced regulations that would have slowed our healthcare system’s response to COVID-19. The governor has also restricted public gatherings to 10 or fewer people, unless a distance of at least six feet can be maintained between individuals; closed bars and nightclubs; and authorized the Georgia Department of Public Health to close organizations that violate this executive order.
Licensing provisions for medical professionals have been relaxed to increase the number of medical professionals available to treat patients during this period. The expiration date for Georgia drivers’ licenses that are set to lapse between March 25 and June 30 has been extended. The governor has also authorized the Georgia Department of Labor to loosen regulationssurrounding the unemployment process in Georgia.
Additionally, on March 26, the governor ordered that all Georgia public schools shall remain closed through April 24 and that all public post-secondary schools shall remain closed through the end of the current semester.
If any of you have questions about COVID-19, there are multiple options for you to receive updated, accurate information. The Georgia Department of Public Healthand the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionare both maintaining sections on their websites devoted to information about COVID-19. The Georgia DPH will also be updating its website daily with information on the number of COVID-19 casesin the state.
Additionally, Kemp’s website is continuously updating its section on COVID-19. For individuals who are non-symptomatic and have not been exposed to COVID-19, a toll-free phone number has been created for information on COVID-19: 1-844-442-2681.
Please use common sense, wash your hands, and, where at all possible, work from home and practice social distancing. This is a stressful time for our nation and our state, and our leaders and fellow Georgians are all in our prayers. To those who have lost loved ones, please know that my special thoughts and prayers are all with you.
Please do not hesitate to call (404-656-5052), e-mail (Jon.Burns@house.ga.gov), or engage on Facebook with your feedback. It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly where he serves as the House majority leader.