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That triggered fierce criticism from Democratic leaders, local mayors, public health experts and President Donald Trump over concerns that rolling back economic restrictions could risk a greater outbreak of the pandemic.
Though the order encouraged Georgians to stay home, it included a range of exceptions that let residents leave for various reasons, including exercise and shopping or working at businesses that comply with other restrictions.
Violators of the order could face misdemeanor charges, but state law enforcement officers have issued only a handful of tickets and instead relied on hundreds of warnings to offenders.
The order has widespread support from Georgians. A University of Georgia poll released Tuesday showed that three-quarters of registered voters back the initiative, including broad majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents.
Kemp has stressed that no matter his decision, restrictions on nursing homes will remain in place through mid-May. Residents of those facilities have suffered disproportionately from a virus that preys on the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
“We’ve got to continue to hunker down and watch out for and support that industry,” he said. “That’s definitely staying put. What the rest of it looks like, we’ll have a better idea in a day or two.”
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