Virus Outbreak Georgia

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks about COVID-19 during a news conference at the Georgia state Capitol on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in Atlanta. Content Exchange

(The Center Square) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp extended the state's emergency declaration and statewide COVID-19 restrictions Friday night.

Kemp signed two executive orders hours before the current restrictions were about to expire.

"The fight against COVID-19 continues, and these executive orders reaffirm our commitment to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians. As our state ramps up testing, expands hospital surge capacity, and provides staffing, supplies, and resources to cities and counties throughout Georgia, we urge local officials to enforce the rules and restrictions detailed in these orders," Kemp said.

The governor's order continues a ban on local mask mandates that has caused contention between him and local government officials.

Kemp also maintained a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and restrictions and guidelines on how businesses should operate to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

"When businesses, restaurants, venues, and citizens follow the guidelines carefully crafted by data, science, and the Georgia Department of Public Health, we will take our next measured step forward," he said.

The order on restrictions expires Aug. 15. The Public Health State of Emergency has reactivated until Sept. 15. The declaration gives Kemp the ability to bypass the legislative process and quickly seek aid for the state.

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