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Governor Kemp bans gatherings of 10 or more, orders vulnerable population to self-quarantine
Orders bars and nightclubs closed, any business that can't maintain social distancing
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Recess Pub in downtown Gainesville has a sign out front explaining their closure Wednesday, March 18, 2020, on the square. Some stores remain open, but have reduced their hours of operation, however. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday ordered closures of bars and nightclubs statewide beginning at noon on Tuesday as part of the state’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings of 10 or more people, unless the people can be kept six feet apart, will also be banned.

The ban will be in effect through April 6.

The Georgia Department of Public Health will be authorized to close any business for noncompliance.

Kemp will work with the Department of Public Health to issue an executive order to require sheltering in place or quarantining for high-risk populations, such as those who live in long-term care facilities, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, or have a positive COVID-19 test, are assumed to have it, or have been exposed.

To address a shortage of health care workers, graduate nurses who have not yet taken their nursing exams will be able to seek a temporary license through the Georgia Board of Nursing, Kemp said.

In March and April, about 1 million Georgians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will receive an additional $100 in benefits. The average monthly SNAP benefit for a Georgia household is $225. The program has seen an influx of applicants, Kemp said.

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