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Kemp’s Executive Orders Analyzed and Maybe Explained

by | Apr 4, 2020 | Family Law

Governor Kemp has issued two Executive Orders in rapid succession. The first one dropped on April 2 and the second one on April 3. The April 2 Order is more extensive. The April 3 Order covered some additional ground. I will review the first Executive Order in this post. I’ll review the second one in the next post.

What I have re-written here is not every word of the Order. There is more to it than this. But I believe that I have hit the high parts and provided some references that you can use to refer to the Order itself to see if it expands in any way that directly impacts you. The paragraphs in the Order were not numbered. It would have been helpful if they had been. I’ve added a paragraph number for easier reference.

I don’t mean for you to take my commentary as legal advice for any particular act but rather as food for thought. If you need to know something specific, we should talk before you launch out on a crusade or a course of conduct that might prove problematic down the road.

Now, legal disclaimers aside, let’s get to the first Executive Order.

The April 2 Executive Order invokes the Governor’s power to issue Orders pertaining to emergencies or disasters and the power of the Department of Public Health’s power to segregate and isolate certain individuals with communicable diseases or conditions when exposure is likely to endanger the health of others. (Whereas ¶7 and 8)

Orders ¶1 requires all residents and visitors to practice social distancing and sanitation as set out by this Order and the CDC.

Orders ¶2 requires that no business shall allow more than 10 people to be gathered if they have to be within six feet of each other. This does not apply to entities defined as “Critical Infrastructure” nor to people who live in the same home.

COMMENTARY: If you own a business, make sure that everyone in your business has enough room to stay six feet apart.

Orders ¶4 requires all residents and visitors to shelter in place in their homes and take every possible precaution to limit social interaction unless they:
1) Are involved in “Essential Services;”

2) Performing “Necessary Travel;”

3) Engaged in the performance of, or travel to and from the performance of “Minimum Basic Operations for a business which is otherwise not classified as “Critical Infrustructure;”

4) Are a part of the workforce for “Critical Infrastructure”and what there are doing is the performance of that or travel to and from that.

COMMENTARY: The words in quotes are terms of art. They will be defined later in the Order. It will be important to know what the terms mean to make sense of the Order and to see how the Order limits your activities. Get comfortable with these terms because they are used frequently.

Orders ¶6 says that “Essential Services” are limited to:

1) Obtaining necessary supplies and services for the family such as:

food and supplies for household consumption and use,

medical supplies or medication,

supplies and equipment needed to work from home

and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation and essential maintenance of the home

(The Governor would prefer you to order on line or use curbside pick-up whenever possible);

2) Engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of your family such as seeking medical, behavioral health or emergency services;

3) Engaging in outdoor exercise activities so long as you maintain six feet between you and anyone else who is not an occupant of your household.

COMMENTARY: You don’t have to stay home when you are engaged in “Essential Services.” This means you can go grocery shopping and other shopping so long as your household will consume whatever you buy. This also means that you can go to Office Depot to pick up supplies to work from home. It also means that you can go to Home Depot to pick up whatever you need to maintain your home, if it is essential. If you are going to Home Depot to finish that landscaping project that has been on your to-do list for months, I think we have a problem.

You can also go to doctor’s appointments and to the ER. I guess you could also argue that whatever else you were doing was essential for behavioral health, but I wouldn’t want to push that.

You can go outdoors to exercise. Just don’t cluster. And check out “Necessary Travel” in ¶7 below. You may drive somewhere to go outdoors to exercise because that is defined as “Essential Services.” Whoo Ha! Beaches, here we come!

Orders ¶7 says that “Necessary Travel” is limited to that required to conduct or participate in “Essential Services” or “Minimum Basic Operations,” or “Critical Infrastructure.”

COMMENTARY: So unless you can fit why you are traveling into one of these three defined categories, you cannot travel. Notice that visitation exchanges is not on the list.  For family law practitioners, that was going to provide some problems.  For parents who need to exchange their children for visitation, that was going to provide even more problems.  But see my next post. 

I still see a lot of cars on the road. I don’t think we are abiding by this portion of the Order very well.

Orders ¶8 identifies “Minimum Basis Operations.”

1) Minimum activities necessary

to maintain the value of a business

provide services

manage inventory

ensure security

process payroll and employee benefits or for related functions.

Minimum necessary activities include remaining open to the public So long as you abide by the rest of this Executive Order.

2) Minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees to be able to work remotely and patrons to be able to participate remotely.

3) Instances in which employees are working outdoors without regular contact with other persons such as delivery services, contractors, landscape businesses and agricultural industry services.

COMMENTARY: Businesses can stay open (unless they are specifically identified in ¶13 below). It seems to me that everything a business does falls within one of the identified permissible activities. I don’t know why any business (except for those in ¶13 below) would close.

Orders ¶9 provides that all businesses that are not “Critical Infrastructure” shall only engage in “Minimum Basic Operations.” Such entities are required to implement measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 among the work force. This includes:

1) Screening and evaluating workers who appear ill such as having a fever over 100.4 degrees or are coughing or suffering a shortness of breath;

2) Any employees who exhibit such signs are not to report to work;

3) Enhanced sanitation;

4) Requiring hand washing or sanitation;

5) Providing personal protective equipment as available;

6) Prohibiting employees to gather during working hours;

7) Permitting workers to take breaks which allow for social distancing;

8) Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;

9) Staggering shifts for all possible workers;

10) Holding all meetings virtually whenever possible;

11) Delivering intangible services remotely, whenever possible;

12) Discouraging workers from using each others’ phones, etc;

13) Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person to person contact;

14) Placing notices regarding hand hygiene at the workplace entrance and other areas where they are likely to be seen;

15) Suspending the use of PIN pads, etc, whenever you can;

16) Enforcing social distancing for non-cohabitating persons while present in the business;

17) For retailers and services providers, providing for curbside pick-up or delivery;

18) Increasing physical space between workers and customers;

19) Providing disinfectant for workers to clean their spaces;

20) Increasing physical space between workers’ workspaces to at least six feet.

COMMENTARY: If you own a business and you want to stay open, you have to do this!

Orders ¶10 pertains to “Critical Infrastructure.” They include entities which provide legal services,

home hospice

and non-profits that offer food distribution or or other health or mental health services.

These entities are required to implement 1 – 20 in Orders ¶9, above.

Orders ¶12 requires all restaurants and private social clubs to cease dine-in services. It does allow take out, curbside pick-up and delivery.

Orders ¶13 requres the closing of all


fitness centers,

bowling alleys,


live performance venues,

operators of amusement rides,

body art studios,


hair designers,

massage therapists

and bars.

COMMENTARY: Sorry y’all. You lost out.

Order ¶14 expresses that people sheltering in place may not receive visitors unless:

1) Visitors provide medical, behavioral health, or emergency home services or medical supplies or medication including hospice;

2) Visitors providing support for the person to conduct activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living;

3) Visitors providing necessary supplies and services such as food and supplies for household consumption and use,

Supplies and equipment needed to work from home,

and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home; or

4) Visitors received during end-of-life circumstances.

COMMENTARY: §1 might allow massage therapists to make house calls. What the heck does §2 mean? Obviously it would mean home health workers but who else might that apply to? Perhaps nannies. §3 would include delivery people but also caterers. §4 resolves that if someone is dying at home, both clergy and family members can visit.

Order ¶15 expresses that visitors referenced in ¶14 shall be strictly enforced against nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. See the full list before you go out to pay a social call.

Order ¶16 provides that if you find yourself in an emergency, do what you need to do.

Order ¶17 says that certain authorities can mandate the closure of any business that is not compliant.

COMMENTARY: Stay compliant!

Order ¶19 provides that other municipal and county Orders pertaining to this issue are suspended.

COMMENTARY: Counties and municipalities with stricter orders are pissed. Tybee had closed down the beaches. This Executive Order opens them back up. But you still have to practice social distancing!

Order ¶25 says that this Executive Order is in effect until 11:59 on April 13th.

There you go. The most relevant paragraphs (to me), hopefully broken down in a way that makes them more useable and understandable. Have this on hand if you are engaged in necessary traveling and need to make an argument the officer why you are headed to wherever you are going.

Give me a call if you have any questions. We’ll work through it.

Oh, and look for the breakdown of Executive Order 2 in just a little bit in the next post.

-Michael Manely