Gov. Kemp extends public health emergency for all of Georgia, shelter in place for some

GEORGIA — Gov. Brian Kemp announced he will formally extend the Public Health State of Emergency through June 12, 2020.

Additionally, he is signing an order to require medically-fragile and elderly Georgians to continue shelter in place until June 12. Elderly Georgians are considered ages 65 and older.

“In accordance with our executive orders, businesses across the Peach State, must continue to operate with strict social distancing and sanitation rules to keep customers and employees safe through May 13, 2020,” Kemp said in a tweet posted Thursday.

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“The health and well-being of Georgians are my top priorities,” Kemp said. “I will do what is necessary to protect the lives and livelihoods of our people.”

[REALTED: Here are the requirements for Georgia restaurant dining rooms, theaters to reopen]

Kemp says that while the shelter in place order for most Georgians expires tonight at 11:59 p.m., he is encouraging Georgians to stay home whenever possible.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spoke to the governor inside the State Capitol on Thursday as protesters drove a convoy of hearses outside the statehouse to protest his decisions.

“Personally I can tell you I don’t want anybody to go through what my husband went through and I just can’t imagine how scary this disease is for those who get sicker than my husband,” state Rep. Angelika Kausche said. She and her husband both recently recovered from COVID-19.

She joined a group of Democrats who took to social media to condemn the reopening plan. They accused Kemp of putting the economy before lives.

Governor Kemp says he’s worried about another Great Depression for Georgia if the state doesn’t open now. He promises the state will watch the cases of COVID-19 and if it increases again he’ll take action if needed after this state of emergency expires.

“We’ll have another week to ten days of data that we can see and kind of see where we are and then make the next decisions based on that," Kemp said.

[COVID-19 Tests expanding for essential workers without symptoms in Georgia]