Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp ordered bars, night clubs and live concert venues to remain closed through the end of May as leading health experts issued severe warnings about reopening the nation too quickly amid the coronavirus outbreak.
During a press conference the Governor said that keeping bars and night clubs closed for the remainder of the month would “enhance health outcomes” and help businesses sufficiently prepare to reopen in the “near future.”
He also made the announcement that he would extend business safety guidelines that were set to expire on Wednesday. The restrictions will include limits on public gatherings and requirements for social distancing.
Kemp did note that he would further relax limits for restaurants that have resumed dine-in services. A new executive order will increase the maximum party size per table from six to 10 people.
Along with, a single classroom at a child care facility will be allowed to host up to 20 children, up from 10 under the previous order. Summer camps will be allowed to reopen starting on May 14, if they comply with a set of health guidelines.
“We are just in a good place,” Kemp said. “And we want to keep these numbers moving in the right direction.”
Georgia was one of the first states to gradually roll back restrictions emplaced at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. The state’s stay-at-home order expired on April 30, which allowed businesses such as restaurants, gyms and hair salons to reopen under modified conditions.
Kemp’s announcement comes the same day top U.S. health experts spoke to the Senate about the coronavirus response.
The Georgia Department of Public Health has reported approximately 34,900 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 1,400 deaths from it. A study from the CDC released in April discovered that African Americans are being hospitalized for the virus at a significantly higher rate than their caucasian counterparts in the state.
In late April, Kemp stated that the state’s move to begin reopening coincided with an increase in testing and hospital capacity. Health experts have repeatedly implored that the U.S. must have widespread testing availability and a comprehensive contact tracing program in place to safely reopen.