COVID-19 Update (May 2, 2020)

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Governor Kemp has begun to lift statewide restrictions. To be clear: I strongly disagree with his actions to “reopen” the state before the public health experts say we are ready.

While I continue to express my concerns––and yours––to Governor Kemp and his staff, I remain committed to keeping you updated on the very latest. Below, I have detailed what restrictions are currently in place, as well as provided an update on when the Legislature is expected to reconvene and the very latest on our fast-approaching June 9th election.

If you find this update helpful, I hope you will share it with others.

Stay safe,
Matthew

COVID-19 RESOURCES
For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus and how best to protect yourself and your family, please check the following:
Georgia Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Prevention & Control 

GA Department of Public Health hotline: 1-844-442-2681 

To view my past updates on Georgia’s response to COVID-19, please visit my website here.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Latest from Governor Kemp:

Late last week, Gov. Kemp announced that he would be allowing the statewide shelter-in-place order to expire on April 30th. Thus, the vast majority of Georgians are no longer legally required to shelter-in-place. Please keep in mind that the public health officials warn that unless we continue sheltering-in-place as much as possible, we risk making the COVID-19 outbreak in Georgia even worse. To that end, I urge you to remain at home as much as possible and wear a cloth mask and use social distancing when you do need to leave for essential errands or work.  Georgia’s ban on gatherings of 10 or more people remains in place through June 12th.

Gov. Kemp also put in place a new order requiring shelter-in-place for Seniors and those considered “medically fragile.” This order means those on the list below are legally required to stay home through June 12th and may not receive visitors unless required for medical reasons or to receive essential supplies.

That being said, Georgia’s state of emergency declaration will be extended through June 12th. This will continue to provide the Governor with unprecedented powers to essentially run the state unilaterally.

Testing available in DeKalb THIS AFTERNOON ONLY:

Free COVID-19 testing will be available at the House of Hope in Decatur this afternoon from 3–7pm. House of Hope is located at 4650 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur, GA 30034.

More information:

  • Testing is free. No insurance is required.
     
  • Anyone above the age of eighteen can be screened for testing, including those who are asymptomatic but suspect they have come in contact with the virus or who are asymptomatic but have underlying conditions that put you at higher risk. Those under eighteen must be accompanied by a parent.
     
  • You must pre-register by calling (404) 294-3700, then select Option 1, to schedule an appointment. Participants are emailed and sent a text of their scheduled testing time based on availability and site capacity.
     
  • Area residents will be guided through the House of Hope parking lot and remain in the comfort of their cars for the test. For those who arrive without a vehicle, a walk-up testing booth will be available with on-site screening.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Reconvening to pass a Budget

The General Assembly has begun making plans for our eventual reconvening, likely to be in mid-June. The Georgia Constitution requires that we pass a budget for FY2021 before June 30th, so that is likely to be our sole priority once we reconvene.

While specifics are still unknown, we do know this: we will have to fight hard to protect low-income Georgian families bearing the brunt of our current economic hardship from being devastated by drastic cuts to social services. Last week, budget writers in the House and Senate asked state agencies to prepare new budget proposals reflecting cuts of 14% from FY2020 budgets that already included cuts of 4%. Though there are common-sense measures to raise revenue (such as raising our state tobacco tax to match the federal average), we have a tough fight ahead of us. Stay tuned!

ELECTION UPDATE:

Absentee paper ballots are on their way. If you have not already requested yours, please do so today.

To help you navigate all the changes in June 9th’s election, as well as give you some insight on each of the races you’ll find on your ballot, I’ve compiled a detailed Voter Guide just for you. I have uploaded to my website both a DeKalb County Voter Guide and a Fulton County Voter Guide. I hope you find them helpful!