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Response to COVID-19 is historic in scope
Kemp Official Picture.jpg
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp

 Whether or not you agree with the government’s response to the coronavirus, the measures taken by world, national, state and local leaders to try to contain or limit the outbreak of the virus have been extraordinary. 

For posterity’s sake, we’re running a set of Gov. Brian Kemp’s orders. 

The first, issued March 14, declared a “Public Health State of Emergency” and allowed the state to free up resources to respond to the emergency.

The second, issued that same day, authorized the governor to call up the National Guard.

The third, issued March 16, closed all of Georgia’s public schools. 

We’ve removed some of the “whereases,” but otherwise left the language of the orders as they were issued. 






In late  2019, a new and significant  outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China; and

The respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, known as “COVID-19,” is an infectious virus that  can spread  from  person-to­ person and can result in serious illness or death; and

On March 13, 2020, President  Donald Trump declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a national emergency; and

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  has identified the potential  public health threat  posed by COVID-19 both globally and in  the  United  States,  and  has  advised  that  the  person-to-person spread of COVID-19 will continue to occur globally, including within the United States; and

The  Centers  for  Disease  Control  and  Prevention   has  noted  that COVID-19 is proliferating  via “community spread,”  meaning people have contracted the virus in areas of Georgia as a result of direct or indirect  contact with infected persons,  including  some who are not sure how or where they became infected; and

Laboratory testing has confirmed more than sixty cases of COVID-19 in Georgia; and

In consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health, the Georgia Coronavirus Task Force, and other  state  health  and emergency preparedness officials, I have determined a public health emergency exists,  and  that  it is necessary  and  appropriate to  take  action  to protect  the  health,  safety,  and  welfare of Georgia’s  residents  and visitors  to  ensure  COVID-19 remains  controlled   throughout this State, as provided by Code Section 38-3-51; and

The  uninterrupted supply  of medical  goods  and  other  emergency related materials,    supplies,    goods,   and   services   during   this emergency  is an essential  need of the public and  any perceived or actual shortage threatens public welfare; and

WHEREAS: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations,  49 C.F.R. §§ 390 et seq., prescribes limits on the hours of service for operators of commercial  vehicles,  and  federal  law, 23  U.S.C. § 127, sets  forth certain weight limitations for vehicles on interstate highways; and

WHEREAS: 49 C.F.R. § 390.23  allows the Governor of a state  to suspend  these rules and regulations for commercial vehicles responding to an emergency for up to thirty (30) days, if the Governor determines an emergency condition exists.


ORDERED: That a Public Health State of Emergency exists in the State of Georgia due to the public health emergency from the spread of COVID-19.


ORDERED: That all resources of the State of Georgia shall be made available to assist in activities designed to address this emergency, control the spread of COVID-19, and aid recovery efforts.


ORDERED: That the Georgia Emergency  Management and  Homeland  Security Agency  shall  activate   the   Georgia  Emergency   Operations  Plan (GEOP) in response to this emergency.


ORDERED: That the Georgia Department of Public Health,  as the state  agency responsible for emergency management services under Georgia Emergency Support Function (ESF) 8- Public Health and Medical Services, shall coordinate  with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention   for   release   of  the   Strategic   National   Stockpile   as necessary and appropriate in response to this Public Health State of Emergency.


ORDERED: That the Georgia Emergency Management  and Homeland  Security Agency is designated as the lead agency for responding to this public health   emergency  and  shall  coordinate   all  emergency   response activities and other matters  pe1taining to this Public Health State of Emergency.

ORDERED: That acting  pursuant to the Governor’s  authorization, the Georgia Department of Public Health shall coordinate with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency to take any action necessary to protect the public’s health, including, without limitation:

(1) Planning and executing public health emergency assessments, mitigation, preparedness response, and recovery for the state;

(2) Coordinating   public  health  emergency   responses   between state and local authorities;

(3) Establishing protocols to control the spread of COVID-19; 

(4) Coordinating  recovery operations and mitigation initiatives; 

(5) Collaborating with  appropriate federal government authorities, elected officials of other  states, private organizations, or private sector companies;

(6) Organizing public information  activities regarding the state’s public   health   emergency   response   operations,  including educating the public on prevention of the spread of COVID-19 based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and the best scientific evidence available;

(7) Providing special  identification for  public  health  personnel involved in this Public Health State of Emergency;

(8) For all persons meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s   definition   of  a  Person   Under   Investigation (“PUI’’), implementing a program of active monitoring, which may include a risk assessment within twenty-four  (24) hours of learning  that the person meets the PUI criteria  and twice­ daily temperature checks for a period of at least fourteen (14) days or until the PUI tests negative for COVID-19; and

(9)  Implementing quarantine,  isolation,   and   other   necessary public health interventions consistent  with Code Sections 31-

12-4 and 38-3-51(i)(2) or as otherwise authorized by law.


ORDERED: That  all state  and  local authorities as  well as  public  and  private hospitals,  healthcare facilities, clinics, and  medical personnel  shall fully comply with orders  by the Governor as authorized by Georgia law, in furtherance of this Order.


ORDERED: The  Georgia  Composite   Medical  Board  is  authorized  to  grant temporary licenses to physicians who apply for a temporary medical license and are currently licensed as a physician in good standing by equivalent  boards  in other  states  to assist with the  needs  of this public health emergency.

ORDERED: The Georgia Board of Nursing is authorized  to  grant  temporary licenses  to  nurses  who  apply  for  a  temporary  license  and  are currently licensed in good standing as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse,    Licensed   Practical   Nurse,   or   Registered Professional Nurse by an equivalent board in another state to assist with the needs of this public health emergency.


ORDERED: That in accordance with 49 C.F.R. 390.23(a)(1)(i)(A), the federal rules  and   regulations  limiting  hours  operators   of  commercial vehicles may drive are suspended to ensure that  carrier crews are available as needed to provide emergency relief.  This declared emergency justifies a suspension of Part 395 (driver’s hours of service) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.   The suspension will remain in effect for thirty (30) days from the date of this  Order  or  until  the  emergency  condition   ceases  to  exist, whichever is less.


ORDERED: That no motor carrier operating under the terms of this emergency declaration will require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor vehicle carrier that he or she needs immediate rest will be given at least ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty before being required to return to service.


ORDERED: That  weight,  height,  and  length  for  any  such  vehicle traveling through the State of Georgia for the purposes of providing disaster relief and/or  preparation,  which traverses roadways maintained by the State of Georgia, shall not exceed the following:

(1)  A maximum gross vehicle weight for vehicles equipped with five (5) weight bearing axles, with an outer bridge span of not less than fifty-one (51) feet, shall not exceed a gross vehicle weight of ninety-five (95) thousand  pounds,  a maximum width of ten (10) feet and an overall length of one hundred (100) feet.  Continuous travel is authorized, with the proper eSCOltS.

(2)  If the width of said vehicle exceeds eight (8) feet six (6) inches ad is traveling after daylight, defined as thirty (30) minutes before sunset to thirty (30) minutes after sunrise, the transporter  is required  to have a vehicle front  and a rear escort/amber light when traveling on a two lane roadway and a vehicle rear escort when traveling on a four lane highway.

 Transporters  are responsible for ensuring they have proper oversize signs, markings, flags, and escorts as defined in the Georgia Department     of    Transportation    Rules    and Regulations.


ORDERED: That  commercial  vehicles operating  outside  the  normal  weight, height, and length restrictions under the authority of this Executive Order shall be issued permits by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.  Said vehicles shall be subject to any special conditions the Georgia Department of Public Safety may list on applicable permits. Nothing in this  Executive Order shall be construed  to allow any vehicle to exceed weight limits posted for bridges and like structures, nor shall anything in this Executive Order be construed  to relieve compliance  with restrictions  other  than  those  specified  in  this Executive Order or from any statute,  rule, order or other legal requirement not specifically waived herein.  Oversize permits may be issued by the Georgia Department  of Public Safety, Motor Carrier Compliance  Division,  during   normal   business   hours,   Monday through  Friday by calling 404-624-7700.


ORDERED: That during preparation,  response, and recovery activities for this Public Health Emergency, price gouging of goods and services necessary to support Public Health would be detrimental to the social and economic welfare of the citizens of this State, and thus Code Section 10-1-393-4, prohibiting price gouging, remains in effect.


ORDERED: That  pursuant  to Code Section 38-3-51(a), the  General Assembly shall convene for a special session, beginning on March 16, 2020, at S:oo  A.M. for the purpose of concurring  with or terminating  this Public Health State of Emergency.


ORDERED: That the State of Emergency shall terminate  on April 13, 2020, at 11:59 P.M., unless it is renewed by the Governor.

This 14th day of March 2020, at  10 :15 a.m.

Brian Kemp, 


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