Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp lifts most of state's remaining coronavirus restrictions

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday issued an executive order lifting most of the state’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions, a little more than a year after the pandemic started, according to reports.

The 28-page order lifts capacity restrictions on movie theaters and other large venues, ends requirements for restaurants to space out tables and for employees to wear masks and removes restrictions for places like gyms and barbershops, FOX 5 in Atlanta reported.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and Truist Park, home of MLB’s Atlanta Braves, said they will be at full capacity by mid-May and the Atlanta Motor Speedway plans to pack the stands once again this July for the NASCAR Quaker State 400, FOX 5 reported.

Kemp urged Georgians to still follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that say fully vaccinated adults can gather indoors without masks two weeks after the second dose but people should wear masks when attending crowded events.

Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, speaks during a news conference in Hapeville, Georgia, Feb. 25, 2021. (Getty Images)

More than 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, the White House announced Friday but a large number remain skeptical and haven’t made an appointment yet.

“I want to continue to urge people to get vaccinated,” Kemp said last week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s our ticket back to normal, when you think about people getting back into the Braves’ stadium, college football this fall, people going on vacation.”

Last month, Kemp signed an order ending the ban on large gatherings and other restrictions.

The Journal-Constitution reported that Friday’s order was mostly “symbolic” because the restrictions had mainly not been enforced.

Manuel’s Tavern owner Brian Maloof told WSB-TV in Atlanta he’s glad Kemp has lifted the restrictions but said he doesn’t want a resurgence of the virus “so we’re going to continue to play it super safe at Manuel’s.”

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