Georgia governor lifts most COVID-19 restrictions for businesses

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is rolling back restrictions on bars, restaurants, live performances, conventions, sporting events, and other restrictions put into place about a year ago at the start of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a 28-page executive order released Friday, the governor encourages Georgians to continue to follow social distancing and following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, but ends mask requirements for restaurant workers, capacity restrictions for movie theaters and other large venues, and lifts other safety guidelines for gyms, barbershops, and other close-contact businesses.

The past week, both Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Truist Park announced the venues would be back at full capacity by May 15 and May 7, respectively. Friday, Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced the grandstands would be open to full capacity for the NASCAR Quaker State 400 in July.

Also Friday, the Transportation Security Administration announced it will be extending mask requirements for all travelers through Sept. 13, 2021, according to an agency tweet.

The CDC said those who have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine can start gathering indoors without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart as long as two weeks have passed since the last dose. But the guidelines still warn about wearing a mask in certain crowded settings and venues.

Health experts believe herd immunity would happen when between 70 and 90 percent of the population received the COVID-19 vaccine. As of Friday at 3 p.m., the Georgia Department of Public Health reported just under 25 percent of the state’s population was fully vaccinated.

Starting on May 3, all eight mass vaccination sites in Georgia will allow drive-ups with no appointments for the COVID-19 Johnson and Johnson vaccine. To learn more go to or

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