What does shelter in place mean?
Shelter in place is a practice used to fight against the spread of disease and to keep people safe, University of Georgia professor Cham Dallas said. Dallas has worked in emergency management for decades, including in the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents.
The Georgia shelter-in-place policy requires residents to stay in place at all times with certain exceptions. Keep reading to see what those exceptions are.
How long will this last?
Georgia’s shelter-in-place order went into effect at 6 p.m. on April 3 and will last until 11:59 p.m. on April 30.
When can I leave the house?
Georgians are still allowed to leave the house and go outside to obtain food and household or medical supplies, to exercise, and to seek medical or behavioral health services. You can also travel to work under certain circumstances.
When you do leave the house, Dallas said people should “act normally” while maintaining social distancing norms. Most people are susceptible to fear of the virus, Dallas said, and fear of the virus can cause people to be more hostile toward others. His advice: When going to the grocery store, remain 6 feet apart from others and go about your business in the most normal way possible.
What businesses are closed?
The order closes all gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, theaters, concert venues, body art studios, spas, hair salons and bars in the state.
What businesses will remain open?
Restaurants are permitted to remain open but may only provide takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery options. Check out The Red & Black’s list of Athens restaurants that are still offering to-go options.
The order breaks down all businesses staying open into two categories: critical infrastructure and non-critical businesses. Open businesses which are not critical infrastructure must operate with “minimum basic operations.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security listed businesses defined as “critical infrastructure.” These establishments include grocery stores, hospitals, banks, hardware stores, the suppliers of essential goods, law enforcement and news outlets.
Non-critical businesses include any other business that will remain open during this time. These organizations are required to “implement teleworking for all possible workers” under the order.
Non-critical businesses must screen workers who exhibit signs of COVID-19, enhance sanitation of the workplace as appropriate, require workers who exhibit signs of illness not to report to work and increase physical space between workers’ workplaces to at least 6 feet, among other requirements. Read more about the requirements here.
Can my friend come over to my apartment?
The order says no. You are not allowed to receive visitors under a shelter-in-place order, unless your visitor is a doctor, a delivery service, someone bringing essential food or supplies to your home or someone who you rely on for your day-to-day activities.
My neighbors want to go play tennis today, and tomorrow they want to go on a hike. Can we?
Yes! Outdoor exercise is OK. As long as the gathering is limited to less than 10 people and you remain 6 feet apart from all people who aren’t from within your household, as per the order, you can meet and gather outside.
Who will enforce this?
In an April 1 press conference, Kemp said the Georgia State Patrol and state law enforcement officers will ensure that Georgians comply with the shelter-in-place order. Kemp issued a separate order on April 3 authorizing sheriffs to enforce the closure of businesses, non-profits and other establishments in compliance with the shelter-in-place order.
If you are found not sheltering in place and you aren’t traveling for essential reasons, you can receive a warning from law enforcement and potentially be guilty of a misdemeanor under the order.