Gov. Brian Kemp has extended his emergency order that imposes COVID-19 safety rules through New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31.

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.

The order had been set to expire Dec. 15. Kemp ordered the extension of the order on Dec. 8, but unlike previous extensions, it was not announced through a press release.

Kemp had already ordered an extension of the pandemic state of emergency, which authorizes him to declare such restrictions and policy changes, to Jan. 8.

Language in the order that makes it easier to give COVID-19 vaccinations suggests Kemp will continue renewing the order at least for several months until vaccines become widely available.

To read the orders in full, see the Governor’s Office website.

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