Gov. Brian Kemp signed two executive orders on Aug. 31 extending the public health state of emergency and existing COVID-19 safety measures in Georgia.

While the public health emergency order is extended through Oct. 10, a second order  requiring social distancing, banning gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is six feet between each person, mandatory criteria for businesses, and requiring sheltering in place for those in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile only runs through Sept. 15.

Cities and counties can still require masks on government property and  extend face covering mandates to private businesses and property if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases over a 14 day period is at least 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Last month, Kemp dropped a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council after he said negotiations had reached a “stalemate” during court-ordered mediation. Kemp has attracted widespread criticism for not enforcing a statewide mask mandate.

Read the Governor’s executive orders here.

In a media statement, Kemp said COVID-19 hospitalizations in Georgia are at their lowest since July 6 and cases at their lowest point since June 22.

The latest White House coronavirus task force report, released on Monday, said Georgia continues to be in the “red zone,” indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population in the past week. The state has the 7th highest rate of cases in  the country.

The task force report said Fulton, Gwinnett, and Cobb counties had the highest number of new cases over the past three weeks, representing 23.6 percent of new cases in Georgia.

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.