Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that he will be issuing a shelter-in-place order across the state, the latest governor to issue a lockdown order amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking before the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday, Kemp said he would be issuing a shelter-in-place order Thursday, which will go into effect Friday, and last until April 13. The Republican governor also said that he would sign an order closing K-12 schools for the rest of the academic year.
“I want to encourage my fellow Georgians to hang in there. I know you’re tired of this,” Kemp said Wednesday outside the Capitol building in Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But we must first overcome the obstacles in our path.”
Kemp had originally been hesitant to put Georgia under lockdown, hurting the economy in areas where few cases of the virus exist, but he said his opinion changed after reviewing new projections of coronavirus’ spread in the state. Additional information about the disease also revealed that people can spread it without even showing symptoms.
“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt that,” he said. “We didn’t know that until the last 24 hours.”
Grocery stores, medical manufacturing, and certain other industries will be exempt from the shelter-in-place order. Kemp on Wednesday confirmed that police would be enforcing the new rules, but he encouraged residents not to be alarmed or begin panic buying at grocery stores. (RELATED: Washington, DC: The Latest To Be Put Under Stay-At-Home Order)
“The grocers are ready for this. They’ll be ready to restock,” he said. “People don’t need to be worried about buying for two weeks or two months.”
As of Wednesday evening, 4,638 people in Georgia tested positive for coronavirus, and 139 people died from coronavirus-related illness.
Kemp’s announcement came just hours after his neighbor, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, issued a statewide stay-at-home order for at least 30 days.
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