Kemp extends Georgia’s coronavirus restrictions until Oct. 31

09/24/2020 - Atlanta, Georgia - Gov. Brian Kemp wears a Ô2020 CensusÕ branded face mask after encouraging Georgians to fill out the 2020 Census during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta, Thursday, September 24, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Governor makes no significant changes to rules

Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday extended the state’s coronavirus restrictions an additional two weeks, making no significant changes to broad rules that govern how Georgians should live, work and gather amid a pandemic.

Once again, Kemp stopped short of making sweeping changes to state guidelines that were set to expire this week. He didn’t impose new limits on gatherings, nor did he scale back more expansive restrictions that have been in place for months.

ExploreRead the new order here

The new rules, which expire Oct. 31, keep in place a three-phase system for in-person visits to senior care facilities based on the rate of coronavirus testing, the length of time the home has gone without a new case and other factors such as community spread.

They also renew safety guidelines for restaurants, bars and other businesses to follow to remain open. And they extend a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, which has become a focus of public health experts who have encouraged the governor to impose stricter limits.

Kemp and other officials have mostly ignored the ban on gatherings, including at recent political rallies that have drawn hundreds of attendees — many not wearing masks — to indoor venues. A large crowd is expected to attend President Donald Trump’s rally Friday at Macon’s airport, which should be in an open-air hangar.

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Like previous executive orders, the rules also empower many Georgia cities and counties to impose face covering requirements, but do not call for a statewide mask mandate.

Friend and family gatherings continue to contribute to spread of the coronavirus, a new White House report says, warning Georgians against unmasked private gatherings.

Georgia has made significant progress since the summer surge in new COVID-19 cases, according to the White House’s latest coronavirus task force report. But officials urged Georgians to wear face coverings at private gatherings to avoid a new surge.

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