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Kemp: Bars, live performance venues must stay closed through end of May
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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced this afternoon that he is extending the mandatory closure of live performance venues, bars, and nightclubs through May 31.

A previous executive order had the closures expiring as of Wednesday evening.

"We believe that waiting a little bit longer will enhance health outcomes and give folks the opportunity to prepare for safe reopening in the near future," Kemp said.

However, restaurant dining will experience a loosening of restrictions.

"We are taking another step forward empowering restaurants to expand operations safely only if they choose," Kemp said.

This includes allowing up to 10 patrons per 300 square feet of public space in restaurants and dining room, and increasing party size per table from 6-10 people.

The shelter in place provision for "medically fragile" Georgians age 65 and over remains in effect through June 12.

Other mandatory industry-specific restrictions remain in effect through the end of May.

"We continue to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings while out in public," Kemp said.

Kemp unveiled a state contact-tracing initiative, the Healthy Georgia Collaborative.

"With nearly 250 staff in the field today the Department of Public Health is making progress," Kemp said. "DPH plans to have 1000 staff deployed in the weeks ahead," rolling out the new online monitoring tool.

The tool will allow the DPH to identify contacts and monitor symptoms. "Health data will remain completely confidential," Kemp said.

"Residents testing positive will be contacted by staff who will work with individuals to recall anyone they might have close contact with," he said, with the contacts being reviewed "to help map and isolate the spread of COVID-19."

Kemp said that summer camps in Georgia will be allowed to operate as soon as May 14, "if they can meet 32 minimum criteria" for safety and sanitation. However, no overnight summer camps will be allowed for the time being.

As of May 18, Kemp said, "specific divisions of state agencies will begin to phase back into limited in-person operations."