Gov. Brian Kemp has extended his emergency order that imposes COVID-19 safety rules through Dec. 15.

Looking ahead to the expected approval of COVID-19 vaccines, Kemp also ordered an easing of rules for administering the vaccinations. The order allows patients to be vaccinated inside their vehicles, thus permitting drive-thru sites. The order also permits any nurse or pharmacist, not just the one who administers the vaccine, to observe the recipient for a legally required 15 minutes to check for any negative reactions.

The extension of the pandemic rules includes social distancing and various business restrictions. The order “strongly” suggests but does not require mask-wearing in public.

Kemp also ordered an extension of the pandemic state of emergency, which authorizes him to declare such restrictions and policy changes, to Jan. 8. The new part of the order about vaccinations will continue in force as long as the state of emergency exists, which suggests Kemp will continue renewing the order at least for several months until vaccines become available.

The orders were issued Nov. 30. To read them in full, see the Governor’s Office website.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.