Georgia Governor Relaxes Restrictions on Businesses

Relaxed Business Restrictions, Shelter In Place Remains
Governor Kemp Announces Business Categories that May Reopen
On Monday afternoon, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that the State of Georgia would begin reopening certain business categories in a phased in approach beginning Friday, April 24th through Monday, April 27th. Each grouping of businesses will be required to follow additional guidelines, which may change over the coming days. A copy of that Executive Order can be found HERE.

Business Categories that May Reopen on Friday, April 24th for Minimum Basic Operations:

  • gyms
  • fitness centers
  • bowling alleys
  • body art studios (defined in Code Section 31-40-2)
  • beauty shops
  • beauty salons
  • schools of cosmetology
  • schools of hair design
  • schools of esthetics
  • schools of nail care
  • home-based beauty salons, beauty shops and barbershops
  • professionally licensed estheticians (defined in Code Section 41-10-1(8))
  • professionally licensed hair designers (defined in Code Section 41-10-1(9))
  • professionally licensed massage therapists (defined in Code Section 43-24A-8)

These businesses may begin Minimum Basic Operations as long as they utilize measures to avoid the exposure to and spread of COVID-19. Those specific measures include:

  1. Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
  2. Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness not to report to work or to seek medical attentions;
  3. Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
  4. Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
  5. Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the work within the business location;
  6. Prohibiting gathering of workers during working hours;
  7. Permitting employees to take breaks and meals outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distance is obtainable;
  8. Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
  9. Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
  10. Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible;
  11. Delivering intangible services remotely, wherever possible;
  12. Discouraging workers from using other workers phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
  13. Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace;
  14. Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas that are likely to be seen;
  15. Suspending the use of Personal Identification Number (PIN) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent that such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies;
  16. Enforcing social distancing of non-cohabitating persons while present on such entity's leased or owned property;
  17. For retailers and service providers, providing for alternative points of sale outside the buildings, including curbside pickup or delivery of products and/or services if an alternative point of sale is permitted under Georgia Law;
  18. Increasing physical space between workers and customers;
  19. Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workplaces, equipment and tools;
  20. Increasing physical space between workers' worksites to at least six (6) feet.

All of the above special measures must be met to conduct Minimum Basic Operations, which are defined by the order as:

  1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of a business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation, or organization, provide service, manage inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions. Such minimum necessary activities include remaining open to the public subject to the restrictions of the order (see above).
  2. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees or volunteers being able to work remotely from their residences or members or patrons being able to participate remotely from their residences.
  3. Instances where employees are working outdoors without regular contact with other persons, such as delivery services, contractors, landscape businesses, and agriculture industry services.

Additionally, the new order allows for elective procedures to begin in healthcare facilities.

What about restaurants and theaters?
The Governor mentioned that restaurants and theaters would be able to open up under new guidelines beginning on Monday, April 27th. Those guidelines have not been released and are not covered under the newest order.

What about the Shelter in Place Order?
The Governor's Order for Shelter in Place is still in effect through 11:59 p.m. on April 30th. Those not reporting to work, conducting business with a business allowed to be open under the order, going out to purchase supplies or food, going to a medical provider, caring for another, or going out for exercise should remain at home.

What about churches?
The Governor noted that churches may have traditional in-facility services as long as they can meet the requirements of his order, but he stressed that online and livestreamed services are the best options.

What does this mean for City Parks or Facilities?
The City of Canton parks and trails are open for public use and may be used for exercise as long as guests follow CDC guidelines on social distancing and spacing of at least six (6) feet. The City of Canton playgrounds, ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and athletic fields will remain closed until further notice. City facilities also remain closed to the public until further notice. Any activity of more than ten (10) people is in violation of the Executive Order of the Governor.

What if I have additional questions?
The order from the Governor is clear that the requirements are statewide in nature and cannot be made more or less restrictive by local governmental bodies. Additionally any enforcement of these orders falls to the Georgia State Patrol or local Sheriff's Department. You may always contact the City Manager of Canton, Billy Peppers, by email and he will attempt to put you in touch with the appropriate party for your concerns. His email address is or you may call City Hall at 770-704-1500.
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If you don't need to be out, don't be.
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