JONESBORO—Clayton County residents confused by a patchwork of city and county emergency orders can look to one single directive on what to do about sheltering in place for COVID-19 issued at 6 p.m. Friday, April 3—Gov. Brian Kemp's statewide shelter-in-place executive order.

Everyone in the state of Georgia must obey the order through at least 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 13. It's possible the order would be extended beyond that date for as long as the COVID-19 emergency exists.

For many people already following local or county emergency orders, little will change. Under this order, like the others:

• People with COVID-19 symptoms or who are at increased risk due to health issues must stay home and/or seek medical attention.

• If you are well, you can leave your home for essentials: groceries, medical care, tending to a relative or pet in another household.

• You can take walks, run, ride a bike, and play golf, but you have to stay 6 feet apart from other people who are not in your family.

• You cannot go to gyms, health clubs or bowling alleys.

In a separate order issued Friday afternoon, Kemp deputized sheriffs, including Sheriff Victor Hill, to enforce business closures after giving those businesses "notice and a reasonable time" to comply.

While the governor's order itself does not specify what an "essential" or "non-essential" business is, a separate list from the governor's office does.

• If your business is "essential," like grocery stores, packaging, trucking, healthcare, police, fire, EMS, news media, utilities, public infrastructure like road and sewer repair, home system maintenance like electricians and plumbers, lawn care or vehicle maintenance, taxi or rideshare drivers, you can go to work as long as you observe the 6-foot distance rule wherever possible.

• "Non-essential" businesses, like bars, sit-down restaurants that cannot provide take-out or curbside service, amusement parks, live performance venues, bowling alleys, beauty, barber, hair, nail, and tattoo shops, gyms and licensed massage therapists, must shut down by 6 p.m. Friday, April 3.

In addition, essential businesses must take employees' temperatures and send home anyone with a fever above 100.4 degrees, a cough or shortness of breath. 

Other requirements include:

• Enhance workplace sanitation "as appropriate"

• Require handwashing or hand sanitation in "appropriate" business areas

• Provide personal protective equipment "as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location" (e.g., gloves for cashiers and food prep)

• Place signs encouraging hand hygiene at workplace entrances and other places where likely to be seen

• Discourage employees grouping together or shaking hands

• Provide sanitizing agents and equipment for workers 

For more specific details, see the order itself or the list from the Governor's Office or consult your employer or attorney.

For a detailed list of what the federal government deems "essential critical infrastructure workforce," see

The list covers 17 broad categories:

Healthcare and public health (chiropractors, yes; massage therapists, no)

Law enforcement, public safety and other first responders (fire, police, EMS)

Food and agriculture (grocery stores, Farmer's Market workers, restaurant carry-out and delivery workers)

Energy (workers in oil, natural gas, coal)

Water and wastewater (CCWA, for example)

Transportation and logistics (truckers, repackagers, warehouse workers, auto repair, railroad and airport workers, FedEx, UPS, U.S. Post Office, etc.)

Public works and infrastructure (GDOT or road contractors,  for example)

Communications and information technology (Xfinity repair crews, a company's IT people, news media, for example)

Other community- or government-based operations and essential duties (clergy for essential support, elections, real estate, teachers/instructors/support staff running distance learning, etc.)

Hazardous materials (handling hazardous waste or keeping track of it by computer)

Financial services (bankers, refilling ATMs, making credit/debit cards, armored trucks, etc.)

Chemical (workers at the Clorox plant, tank truck cleaners, packaging, for example

Defense industrial base (military and contractors at Gillem Enclave or other bases)

Commercial facilities (cabinetmakers, HVAC, hardware stores and other supply chain support)

Residential/shelter facilities and services (leasing offices, property management, maintenance, support for elderly/disabled, construction support like inspections and plan reviews, etc.)

Hygiene products and services (water heater installation, laundromat workers, hygiene products production, etc.)

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