Gov. Brian Kemp has declared Georgia will be under a state of public health emergency to aid in combatting coronavirus, effective Saturday, March, 14.
The unprecedented action will require a special session of the Georgia General Assembly to ratify the action Monday morning, and comes following President Trump's declaration of a national emergency.
"Based on President Trump's emergency declaration, I will declare a public health emergency for the State of Georgia tomorrow morning," Kemp said in a statement. "This declaration will greatly assist health and emergency management officials across Georgia by deploying all available resources for the mitigation and treatment of COVID-19."
The authority for the governor's emergency powers comes from Georgia state code 38-3-51.
The governor also suggested faith-based organizations and similar entities should consider cancelling public events and services. Yesterday, Kemp and top health officials urged Georgians to heed health precautions and minimize public activities to slow down the spread of coronavirus, especially for those who are older than 60 and have chronic health conditions.
House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) expressed support for Kemp's decision.
“I fully support Governor Kemp’s executive action, and we stand united to face this challenge," he said. "As per Georgia law, we will meet Monday in special session to endorse these prudent, proactive steps to protect the health and safety of our citizens. I thank Governor Kemp for his leadership.”
This is the first time the State of Georgia has declared a public health emergency.