By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
How state is enforcing closures of businesses following shelter-in-place order
03192020 BUSINESS 1.jpg
Businesses on the square in downtown Gainesville, pictured March 18, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

Local sheriff’s offices can now enforce Gov. Brian Kemp’s order to shelter in place.

Kemp signed an executive order Friday, April 3, to deputize the state’s sheriffs, authorizing them and their deputies to enforce the closures of businesses and other organizations as ordered by Kemp on April 2. 

Sheriffs enforcing the order “should take reasonable steps to provide notice and a reasonable time to allow” these entities “to comply with directions from sheriffs or their deputies prior to mandating closure,” according to the order.

Kemp’s statewide shelter-in-place executive order will take effect 6 p.m. Friday, April 3, and will end at 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 13.

The businesses and professionals who must stop in-person operations and close to the public include:

  • Bars/nightclubs

  • Gyms/fitness centers

  • Bowling alleys

  • Theaters

  • Live performance venues

  • Operators of amusement parks

  • Estheticians

  • Hair designers

  • Body art studios/tattoo parlors

  • Beauty shops and salons

  • Barber shops

  • Schools for cosmetology, hair design, barbering, esthetics and nail care

  • Licensed massage therapists

Dine-in services at restaurants and private social clubs must also cease except for “take-out, curbside pick-up, delivery and dine-in services at hospitals, health care facilities, nursing homes, or other long-term care facilities,” according to guidance sent by Kemp’s office.

But businesses and organizations must follow several requirements, including allowing employees to work remotely if possible, staggering shifts, prohibiting handshaking, providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate, increasing space between employees’ worksites to at least six feet, screening and evaluating workers showing symptoms, and requiring workers showing symptoms to stay home or get medical help.

Businesses, nonprofits, organizations and local governments are not allowed to have more than 10 people gathering at a single location, unless people stay six feet apart at all times. This applies to churches and funeral services.

The Georgia National Guard adjutant general and the Department of Public Safety Commissioner “shall provide resources as requested to assist in the enforcement of this order,” according to the order.

The Department of Public Safety includes divisions such as Georgia State Patrol, Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police.

Department of Public Safety public information director Lt. Stephanie Stallings said there has not been guidance yet on what enforcement may look like.

“Our command staff is looking over the order and deciding what course of action DPS will take,” Stallings wrote in an email Thursday night.

Georgia Department of Defense spokeswoman Desiree Bamba said the guard has not received any taskings, and no taskings are anticipated.

“We are much better at protecting than policing,” Bamba wrote in an email.

Reporter Megan Reed contributed.