Atlanta, GA - On Thursday, March 26, Governor Kemp participated in a live town hall on Georgia's response to the spread of COVID-19 along with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director Homer Bryson, and Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King.

During the unprecedented, hour-long event, the Governor and members of the Coronavirus Task Force updated the public on efforts to combat COVID-19 and mitigate its impact on the state.

Statewide Town Hall

AJC: Gov. Brian Kemp defended the state’s response to the coronavirus in a surreal, socially-distanced town hall Thursday evening that aired simultaneously in prime time on six television networks.

The Republican stood by his decisions to close K-12 schools through April 24, ban many public gatherings and authorize officials to shut down businesses that don’t comply with social distancing requirements.

WABE: "...It is going to be us as Georgians to beat this virus back,” he [Kemp] said. “There is no cure right now. There is no vaccine. It is up to all of us to get educated, to do our part and be victorious in this battle.”

Georgia’s Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey affirmed this strategy.

“If you look at CDC guidelines, the guidelines are tailored to the community,” she said.

“We, in some cases, can be doing contact tracing very aggressively still where the spread is relatively slow. In other areas like Albany, we really need to be doing very aggressive community mitigation. So it depends on the community where you are located in.”

Georgia National Guard Deploys Medical Support Teams to Fight COVID-19

The Georgia National Guard is currently engaging two Medical Support Teams at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. The two teams - arriving on-site yesterday, March 26, and today, March 27 - are comprised of twenty-two service members, one doctor, two physician's assistants, four nurses, thirteen military medics, and a medical supply specialist. The Georgia National Guard also provided five ventilators for use at Phoebe Putney and has an additional five service members currently supporting Pruitt Palmyra Nursing Home in Albany.

These teams provide support to the professional medical staff at each facility in order to enable them to focus on critical life-saving requirements. It is important to note that these teams do not exist in the military. They are "purpose built" and have been deployed to the point of need in just over a week.

In addition to these two teams deployed to Albany, the Georgia National Guard generated twelve more teams for deployment across the state.

"I am deeply grateful to the men and women of the Georgia National Guard fighting this pandemic," said Governor Kemp. "Working with GEMA, DPH, and our partners in the medical field, the Georgia National Guard is providing critical support in our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impact on our state."

To read the full release, click HERE.

K-12 Public Schools Closed Through April 24

On Thursday, March 26, Governor Brian P. Kemp issued Executive Order 03.26.20.02 closing public elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction through April 24, 2020. Students may return to school on Monday, April 27, 2020.

"I am deeply grateful to State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education, superintendents, and parents for keeping us informed and helping us make the right decision for our students," said Governor Kemp. "Throughout this process, we will continue to seek the advice of public health officials, school leaders, and families to ensure the health and safety of the educational community. As we approach April 24, 2020, we ask for continued patience and flexibility since circumstances may change, but we encourage families to stay strong and follow the guidance of federal, state, and local leaders in the weeks ahead."

To read the full release, click HERE.

Gov. Kemp and Georgia Dept. of Labor Extend Unemployment Benefits for Georgians

On Thursday, March 26, Governor Brian P. Kemp and the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) addressed the unprecedented demand for economic relief for Georgians as witnessed in the recent unemployment claims numbers released this morning by the US Department of Labor. That morning, Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order allowing GDOL Commissioner Mark Butler to issue two new emergency rules.

“As we work together as a state to combat COVID-19, Commissioner Butler and I are taking steps to ensure Georgia’s workforce is supported during this challenging time,” said Governor Kemp. “I ask Georgians to continue to support their local businesses by getting take-out, tipping well, and ordering your favorite products online, while also observing social distancing and following the directives of state and federal public health officials.”

To read the full release, click HERE.

Gov. Kemp Calls on Georgia Businesses to Aid with Critical Health Care Needs

On Tuesday, March 24, Governor Brian P. Kemp called on all Georgia businesses who are able to help the state provide, produce, distribute, or store critical health care items needed to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“As our state’s hardworking healthcare workers and first responders stand on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, it is our job to come together as Georgians and arm them with the necessary resources to keep them safe and effective,” said Governor Kemp. “Now more than ever, I am confident in both our nation and our state’s ability to work in solidarity as we continue to fight spread of COVID-19. I ask all Georgia businesses who are able to support us in the fight against this global pandemic.”

To read the full release, click HERE.

New Information for Filing for Unemployment, Mandatory Filing by Employers for Partial Claims, and Reemployment Services

In response to the recent development of COVID-19, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is temporarily suspending in-person requirements for services provided by the agency. In accordance with Governor Kemp’s recommendation, the GDOL is providing online access to unemployment services, partial claim access for employers, and other reemployment services.

Employers are required to file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily reduce work hours or there is no work available for a short period. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

To read the full release, click HERE.

Social Media Round-Up

@GovKemp: The open line of communication from the President’s #COVID19 Task Force to the nation’s governors has been invaluable in our efforts to fight the virus here in Georgia. Thank you, @POTUS and @VP! (3/27/20)

@GovKemp: Grateful for the partnership with @Old4th Distillery as they’ve utilized their supply chain and staff to produce hand sanitizer for Georgians! Keep Choppin’! #gapol (3/27/20)

@GovKemp: Thanks to @POTUS and @VP for another update today with the nation’s governors. Georgia businesses are answering the call, and @GeorgiaEMA is working closely with @fema to get supplies out to Georgia hospitals. #COVID19 (3/26/20)

@GovKemp: Great call just now with 800+ faith leaders across GA! @GaDPH Dr. Kathleen Toomey & I asked for continued prayers & encouraged online services to stop #COVID19. As Rev. Walker of Temple of Faith Bible Church said, “We are not Democrats. We are not Republicans. We are Georgians!” (3/25/20)

@GovKemp: Anyone with questions about @CityofAtlanta’s Stay at Home Order can reach out to [email protected] for more information! #gapol (3/25/20)

@GovKemp: As we deal with the impact of #COVID19, these companies are looking for hardworking Georgians to join their operations. Take a look at the full list! #gapol (3/25/20)

@GovKemp: We now have 25 referral-only test sites across the state. #COVID19 (3/23/20)

Follow Governor Kemp on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates.

Contact Director of Communications & Chief Deputy Executive Counsel

Candice Broce

Contact Director of Communications

Cody Hall