02 Apr COVID-19: Georgia Shelter in Place Executive Order
Basics of Governor Kemp’s Order
Takes effect at 6 p.m. Friday, April 3 and continues through April 13
Residents are instructed to shelter in place unless they’re conducting “essential services,” traveling to and from jobs and other exceptions.
It allows Georgians to leave the home to buy groceries, purchase medical equipment, go outside to exercise, head to doctor’s appointments, or leave for certain jobs covered by the order.
The definition of Critical Infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security includes veterinarians.
- Veterinarians are covered as follows:
- Under the Food and Agriculture sector, Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health (including those involved in supporting emergency veterinary or livestock services); raising of animals for food; animal production operations; livestock markets; slaughter and packing plants, manufacturers, renderers, and associated regulatory and government workforce.
- Under the Food and Agriculture sector, CISA added language that broadens the reference for workers supporting pet retail, including pet food and pet supply (page 6, bullet 1).
- Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retail (including unattended and vending) that sells human food, animal/pet food and pet supply, and beverage products, including retail customer support service and information technology support staff necessary for online orders, pickup and delivery.
- RESIDENTIAL/SHELTER FACILITIES AND SERVICES. Under this section, they’ve added Workers in animal shelters.
- It is, and has been, AVMA’s opinion that veterinarians are included in this, though it could be clearer.
Kemp’s order doesn’t distinguish between an “essential” or “non-essential” business. Instead, the state’s policy lists a range of criteria for “minimum basic operations” and “critical infrastructure” that businesses must meet to remain open.
The criteria for critical infrastructure business is:
- Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
- Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention;
- Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
- Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
- Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location;
- Prohibiting gatherings of workers during working hours;
- Permitting workers to take breaks and lunch outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable;
- Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
- Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
- Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible;
- Delivering intangible services remotely wherever possible;
- Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
- Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workspace, equipment and tools;
- Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace; and
- Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen; and
- 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 such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies.
Though the restrictions are set to expire in less than two weeks, the Governor could extend them beyond that date once lawmakers agree to renew a state public health emergency declaration that’s set to expire in mid-April.
The 5 most important points in the order for veterinarians (as identified by GVMA Legal Expert, Don Riddick) are:
- The 3/23 Executive Order that specified that there could be no gatherings of 10 or more people in a single location DOES NOT APPLY ANYMORE since we are part of the critical infrastructure (and are complying with the 16 points).
- Those under the shelter in place order (our clients) can only go to businesses that are part of the critical infrastructure (veterinarians are a part of that).
- Those businesses who are a part of the critical infrastructure only need to comply with items 1-16 above.
- If you don’t comply with 1-16 above, you could be subject to misdemeanor charges.
- If there is an emergency such as a tornado, flood, fire, etc., the terms of the order concerning sheltering would be invalidated.
We highly suggest providing a letter to your employees should they be stopped by authorities. CLICK HERE FOR A LETTER TEMPLATE.