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Georgia Governor Kemp Issues Two-Week Stay-at-Home Order

n April 2, 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order No. 04.03.20.01 ordering all Georgia citizens to stay at home, unless they are (1) conducting or participating in “Essential Services;” (2) performing “Necessary Travel;” (3) engaged in the performance of or travel to and from the performance of “Minimum Basic Operations” for a business not classified as “Critical Infrastructure;” or (4) actively engaged in the performance of, or travel to and from, employment for a business classified as “Critical Infrastructure.”

Importantly, the governor’s executive order overrides the patchwork of restrictions that local governments adopted over the past few weeks. That means more stringent or lenient rules adopted by some cities and counties are no longer in place.

Essential Services include:

  • obtaining necessary supplies and services for family or household members, such as food, medical supplies or mediation, supplies and equipment needed to work from home, and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence;
  • engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of family or household members, such as seeking medical, behavioral health, or emergency services;
  • engaging in outdoor exercise activities so long as a minimum of six feet is maintained during such activities;
  • transporting, visiting, or caring for family members dependent on the services of others; and
  • obtaining public internet access for children to fulfill educational obligations.

“Necessary Travel” is defined as travel that is required to conduct or participate in essential services, minimum basic operations, or critical infrastructure.

The extent to which a business is permitted to stay open depends on whether the business is classified as “critical infrastructure” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (described in detail below).

Businesses Not Classified as Critical Infrastructure

Under the executive order, all business not classified as “critical infrastructure” may open to perform only minimum basic operations. Non-critical infrastructure entities must also abide by social distancing rules. Specifically, entities must not allow more than 10 people in a single location unless there is at least 6 feet between each person at all times.

“Minimum basic operations” are limited to:

  • the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of a business, provide services, manage inventory, ensure security, process payroll, or for related functions;
  • the minimum necessary activities to enable employees to work remotely or members and patrons to participate remotely; and
  • “instances where employees are working outdoors without regular contact with other persons, such as delivery services, contractors, landscape businesses, and agricultural industry services.”

Businesses not classified as “critical infrastructure” must also implement measures to mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among their workforces. These measures include:

  1. “Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
  2. Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention;
  3. Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
  4. Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
  5. Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location;
  6. Prohibiting gatherings of workers during working hours;
  7. Permitting workers to take breaks and meals outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable;
  8. Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
  9. Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
  10. Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible;
  11. Delivering intangible services remotely wherever possible;
  12. Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
  13. Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace;
  14. Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen;
  15. Suspending the use of Personal Identification Number (‘PIN’) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies;
  16. Enforcing social distancing of non-cohabitating persons while present on such entity’s leased or owned property;
  17. For retailers and service providers, providing for alternative points of sale outside of buildings, including curbside pick-up or delivery of products and/or services if an alternative point of sale is permitted under Georgia law;
  18. Increasing physical space between workers and customers;
  19. Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workspace, equipment, and tools;
  20. Increasing physical space between workers’ worksites to at least six (6) feet.”

Critical Infrastructure

The executive order adopts the definition of “critical infrastructure” as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in guidance dated March 19, 2020, and revised on March 28, 2020, and those suppliers that provide essential goods and services for the critical infrastructure workforce as well as entities that provide legal services, home hospice, and non-profit corporations or non-profit organizations that offer food distribution or other health or mental health services.

Generally, the definition covers essential workers in the following fields:

  1. Healthcare and public health
  2. Law enforcement, public safety, and other first responders
  3. Food and agriculture
  4. Energy
  5. Water and wastewater
  6. Transportation and logistics
  7. Public works and infrastructure support services
  8. Communications and information technology
  9. Community-based or government-based operations
  10. Critical manufacturing
  11. Hazardous materials
  12. Financial services
  13. Chemical
  14. Defense industrial base
  15. Commercial facilities
  16. Residential/shelter facilities and services
  17. Hygiene products and services

Critical infrastructure entities continuing to use in-person operations must implement measures to mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among their workforces. These measures include:

  1. “Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
  2. Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention;
  3. Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
  4. Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
  5. Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location;
  6. Prohibiting group gatherings of workers during working hours;
  7. Permitting workers to take breaks and lunch outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable;
  8. Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
  9. Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
  10. Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible;
  11. Delivering intangible services remotely wherever possible;
  12. Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
  13. Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workspace, equipment, and tools;
  14. Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace;
  15. Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen; and
  16. Suspending the use of Personal Identification Number (‘PIN’) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies.”

The executive order also orders certain businesses to cease all in-person operations and close to the public during the duration of the order. These businesses include:

  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Bowling allies
  • Theaters and live performance venues;
  • Amusement parks;
    • Dine in-services at restaurants and private social clubs, except for dine-in services at hospitals, nursing homes, or other similar facilities
  • Estheticians, estheticians schools, and nail care schools
  • Hair designers and barber shops, and hair design and barbering schools
  • Body art studios
  • Beauty shops and salons
  • Licensed massage therapists

The order deputizes select state agencies with the authority to mandate the closure of any business, establishment, or organization not in compliance with the order, after reasonable notice. Any person who violates the order may be charged with a misdemeanor, although officials enforcing this order are encouraged to take reasonable steps to provide notice prior to issuing a citation or making an arrest.

Executive Order No. 04.03.20.01 is effective starting on Friday April 3, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. and expires on Monday, April 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.

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About this Author

Luke Donohue, Ogletree Deakins, Legal Compliance Lawyer, Equal Pay Act attorney
Associate

Luke Donohue represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including matters brought under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, and other federal and state laws. He also represents employers before various administrative agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition, Mr. Donohue has experience reviewing and drafting employee handbooks and policies, focusing...

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