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Kemp’s Latest Executive Order – April 20 – Explained. The Throw Caution to the Wind Version

by | Apr 21, 2020 | Personal Interest

Governor Kemp issued another Executive Order yesterday, April 20. I reviewed the First Order of April 2 and the Family Law Version of April 3 in my previous posts. This newest one and the messaging from the Governor’s office coming off of it, are chock full of interesting, must know elements. I’m going to try to share the highlights with you.

What I have re-written here is not every word of the April 20 Executive 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 April 20 Executive Order itself to see if it expands in any way that directly impacts you. The paragraphs in the April 20 Executive 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.

Now, legal disclaimers aside, let’s get to Kemp’s April 20 Executive Order.

Perhaps most telling in the introductory paragraphs, the Executive Order (“EO”) expresses that anyone who acts in accordance with the EO will not be held liable to anyone for following the EO.

COMMENTARY: I’ve seen a lot of postings pondering whether employees could sue their employers for requiring them to come back to work if they get killed by Covid-19. Guess what, you can’t. (Whereas ¶7)

Orders ¶1 says that medical practices, dental practices, orthodontics, physical therapists and physicians performing elective surgeries and any other healthcare related practice that chose to cease operations because of Covid-19 should get back to work.

COMMENTARY: The front lines, those people most placed at risk from infection because of how closely they work with patients, will greatly expand. Now, more than just emergency room doctors, dental hygienists will also have a significantly increased opportunity to contract the virus.

Orders ¶2 provides that most of those businesses that were not permitted to operate at all (the only ones not permitted to operate at all) under Orders ¶13 of Kemp’s Second EO, as of Friday will now permitted to operate like other businesses as provided under Kemp’s Second EO. Still closed: theaters, live performance venues, operators of amusement rides, bars. So on Friday, gyms, tattoo parlors, hair designers and massage therapists can resume with certain limitations like:

they are prohibited from shaking hands or other unnecessary person-to-person contact

they must increase physical space between workers and customers

COMMENTARY: Regarding tattoo parlors, hair designers and massage therapists, wouldn’t all the work that they do require person-to-person contact? But still no shaking hands. You can wash, rinse and repeat their hair, you can rub oil all over their body but you can’t shake your customer’s hands. And even then, you have to increase physical space between yourself and your customer. I guess tattoo folks, barbers and stylists and massage therapists will be using those handy mechanical claws to extend your grip when you are trying to pick something up as they etch that fine art, set a perm or work out the rough spots in your shoulder. That should be different.

Even those businesses still required to remain closed will have their reprieve as soon as Monday, April 27 according to the Governor’s Press Conference. Theaters, private social clubs and restaurant dine-in services will be allowed to open. Only bars, nightclubs, amusement parks, and live performance venues still have no hope. There is no EO on this yet but the Governor said that he would release more information in the next few days. Stay tuned…

Order ¶3 reiterates the “Minimum Basic Operations” of Orders #2, ¶8. Businesses may do what they need to do to maintain the value of their business and provide services which includes remaining open to the public.

COMMENTARY: This is why I wrote that under EO #2, almost no business had to close.

Order ¶11 declares that Covid-19 is a “grave emergency of more than local peril.”

COMMENTARY: And for that reason, we are going back to business as usual almost immediately!

Order ¶21 states that this Order ends on April 30.

COMMENTARY: So even the limited restrictions expressed in the Executive Orders will end next Thursday at midnight. NO HOLDS BARRED.

Remember that the shelter in place requirement from EO #2 also expires on April 30. So, at midnight and the days that follow, there will be some rejoicing coupled with lots of hugging followed by a significant number of people becoming sick, a fair number of people requiring hospitalization and an uncomfortable number of friends and family dying.

I saw a new take on an old Patrick Henry phrase the other day, “Live Free and Die.”

Such is the sign of our times.

Michael Manely