Gov. Brian Kemp announced May 28 that, while he was renewing Georgia’s public health state of emergency for a third time to July 12, he would allow bars and nightclubs to reopen, summer school to convene, and restrictions on social gatherings to loosen.

Kemp cited “encouraging data” on COVID-19 cases prompted his decision to allow social gatherings of 25 people beginning June 1 if they follow social distancing guidelines. The governor said the decision would, hopefully, allow for small weddings and some sporting events to be held.

Also on June 1, bars and nightclubs can reopen if they follow 39 mandatory measures to “ensure patron well-being.” Nightspots will be limited to 25 people at a time or 35% of their total occupancy space.

Kemp said live performance venues will remain closed for now, but that his administration is working with operators to “prepare for the future.”

School districts can hold summer school classes starting in June, but must follow a set of criteria to be released in an executive order.

As of May 31, overnight summer camps will be permitted and banquet facilities can reopen if they follow similar guidelines for restaurants. Amusement parks and water parks can reopen on June 12.

Professional and amateur sports teams can resume practice on June 1, but Kemp said there was still no date for allowing games with fans in attendance.

Kemp said the shelter-in-place order for those 65 and older and the medically fragile would continue until June 20.

As of the afternoon of May 28, the number of confirmed cases in Georgia topped 45,000 and the death toll stands at 1,962.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.