Kemp, health experts urge mask wearing in Georgia

A photo posted to Gov. Brian Kemp’s Facebook page picturing him and Dr. Kathleen Toomey on July 1, 2020, reads “Scattered, smothered, and (faces) covered! Dr. Toomey and I want all Georgians to mask up to fight the spread of COVID-19!”

ATLANTA -- Gov. Brian Kemp Tuesday issued what is expected to be the last statewide public health emergency of the coronavirus pandemic era.

The order will expire on Thursday, July 1, at 12 a.m.

“I appreciate the General Assembly granting my office this authority in order to swiftly and appropriately respond to the coronavirus pandemic,” Kemp said. “We worked together -- along with the Department of Public Health, dozens of state agencies, local leaders, private sector partners, and countless others -- to protect both lives and livelihoods.

"Thanks to those efforts, more Georgians are getting vaccinated, our economic momentum is strong, and people are getting back to normal.”

Kemp issued the first of a long series of public health emergency orders in March of last year as COVID-19 took hold in Georgia. The restrictions included in those orders have varied depending on the severity of the threat posed by the virus.

Early on, many businesses shut down and laid off their workers, while restaurants stopped serving customers inside their establishments and provided only pickup and delivery service.

More recently, companies have brought employees back to their offices at least part of the time, but those who can work at home have gotten used to the convenience and are continuing to do so if allowed by their bosses.

As of Tuesday, the state Department of Public Health has reported 901,472 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 64,697 hospitalizations. The virus has killed 18,407 Georgians.

More than 3.8 million Georgians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 37% of the state’s population. The vaccination rate continues to lag the national average.

In Georgia, the virus peaked last July, then hit a second higher peak in Janary before tapering off substantially.

While there will be no more public health emergency declarations, Kemp said he plans to issue an executive order next week that will continue aiding the state and Georgia job creators as they fully recover from the pandemic. The order will include the suspension of various state rules and regulations, the governor said.

Support Local Journalism

Now, more than ever, residents need trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by purchasing a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you unlimited access to important local news stories. Our mission is to keep our community informed and we appreciate your support.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.