UPDATE APRIL 21, 2020
Georgia’s Stay in Place Order is to remain in effect through April 30th, 2020. In hopes to prevent the spread and begin to reinstate normalcy the Governor will begin to reopen designated non-essential businesses.
On April 24, the following non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen: gyms and fitness centers, tattoo businesses, barbers and hair salons, cosmetologists and nail salons, estheticians, their respective schools, massage therapists, and bowling alleys.
Monday April 27, the following will allow to open: theaters, private social clubs and dine-in restaurants will be allowed to reopen. Bars, nightclubs, amusement parks, and live performance venues will remain closed.
Social distancing and cleanliness standards are to remain in place. Please continue limiting travel, limiting who travels with you, and continuing to wear masks.
Georgia’s public health emergency doesn’t end until May 13! The elderly and medically vulnerable are urged to continue sheltering-in-place until then.
At 6:00 p.m. on April 3, 2020, a statewide Shelter-In-Place Order went into effect in Georgia. At this time, the order is to remain in effect from April 3rd through April 30th, 2020.
While the goal is to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus, any violation of the Order is now a new misdemeanor offense in our State, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months in custody and a $1,000.00 fine.
Anyone who violates the specific terms of the Order can be charged with breaking the law, and potentially arrested.
There are deputies who are specifically patrolling and enforcing the Order. One example of a violation would be a group ten people or more gathered together on private property that do not live together.
Although the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia State Patrol have taken the lead in enforcement; the Governor has also deputized the State’s sheriff’s offices, as well as other groups, to enforce the Order.
Additionally, there are tip lines where citizens can report businesses and individuals who they feel are not in compliance.
While the purpose behind this Order is obviously for the greater good, it is also clear that the enforcement during these stressful times can be ripe for abuse. For example, law enforcement is supposed to first give an individual a warning, and issue criminal charges only upon non-compliance.
Additionally, the police cannot at this time stop vehicles to check if the driver is in compliance with the Order, without reasonable suspicion of a separate traffic violation or other criminal activity.
The specifics of the Order can be confusing as there are four exceptions to sheltering in place:
- Conducting or Participating in Essential Services – which can include obtaining necessary food, household supplies, equipment to work from home, products needed to maintain safety, sanitation and essential home maintenance, seeking medical services and engaging in outdoor exercise activities;
- Engaging in the performance of the Minimum Basic Operations for a business, nonprofit, etc. to maintain its value (process payroll, manage inventory, provide security, facilitating employees being able to work remotely, etc);
- Critical Infrastructure-the part of the workforce that is defined as businesses which provide essential goods and services ; and
- Necessary Travel- permitted to conduct Essential Services, Minimum Basic Operations or Critical Infrastructure.
At Frye Law Group, we realize that this Executive Order has confusing language, and can be difficult to interpret.
If you need assistance in understanding the Order, or whether you are excepted from sheltering-in-place due to your job, or what activities you are allowed to participate in under the new law, please contact our office. We are happy to answer questions.
If you are cited or arrested for violating this Order, please contact us. It is especially important at this time that anyone taken into custody be granted a bond immediately, as not to be potentially exposed to the virus at a detention center.