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Kemp extends public health emergency, lifts shelter-in-place for most residents

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he will continue to urge residents to stay home whenever possible.

ATLANTA — In a Twitter message, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said that with the stay-at-home order set to expire tonight at midnight, Kemp extends public health emergency, shelter in place for medically fragile until June 12 

"I want to thank the people of our great state who heeded public health advice, afforded us time to bolster our healthcare infrastructure, and flattened the curve," he said. "We were successful in these efforts, but the fight is far from over."

He did, however, extend the public health state of emergency until June 12, 2020 and signed an order requiring medically fragile and elderly Georgians to continue to shelter in place through that date.  

The purpose of the extension is to continue to enhance testing, ramp up contact tracing and maintain effective emergency response operations throughout the state, he said.

"The health and well-being of Georgians are my top priorities, and my decisions are based on data and advice from health officials," Gov. Kemp said. "I will do what is necessary to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of our people."

He said businesses that reopen, must follow strict social distancing and sanitation rules. The order says bars, public pools and live entertainment venues must remain closed until at least May 13. 

"Businesses, establishments, corporations, organizations and local governments cannot allow more than 10 people to gather in a single location unblss there is at least 6-feet between each person," the order said. 

"Today we are taking another measured step to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of all Georgians," he said. "We will continue to work around the clock to follow the data, heed the advice of public health officials, and keep Georgia families safe."

He also extended an executive order outlining special protocols for nursing homes and senior living facilities and another order authorizing the National Guard to assist in the COVID-19 response.

RELATED: These are the guidelines restaurants will need to follow to reopen in Georgia

Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz said he's worried about his community getting mixed messages and doesn't feel data shows we are in the clear. 

"We do need to be unified and the unifying message that I'll continue to send is look at the data, and when the data indicates that it's safe for the first phase of reopening, that's when I'm going to encourage that." 

Read the full order below:

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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