COVID-19 Info & Resources

Major points from Governor Kemp's latest Executive Orders

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Report on COVID-19 in the State of Georgia - August 2, 2020.

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July 31, 2020 - Gov. Kemp issueExecutive Order which extends the Public Health State of Emergency through 11:59 PM on September 10, 2020The Public Health State of Emergency allows for enhanced coordination across government and the private sector for supply procurement, comprehensive testing, and healthcare capacity.

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June 29, 2020 - Gov. Kemp issueExecutive Order which extends the Public Health State of Emergency through 11:59 PM on August 11, 2020. The Public Health State of Emergency allows for enhanced coordination across government and the private sector for supply procurement, comprehensive testing, and healthcare capacity.

Executive Order continues to require social distancing, bans gatherings of more than fifty people unless there is six feet between each person, outlines mandatory criteria for businesses, and requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile.

The order also outlines that the State Board of Education must provide “rules, regulations, and guidance for the operation of public elementary and secondary schools for local boards of education” in accordance with guidance from Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the Department of Public Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The order runs through 11:59 PM on July 15, 2020. Click here for a link to all Executive Orders.

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June 11, 2020 - Gov. Kemp issued Executive Order the Order, the Governor lays out detailed provisions to govern the ongoing Public Health State of Emergency. With the exception of Section III, “Sheltering in Place,” which takes effect immediately, the provisions contained in the Order shall be effective from June 16, 2020 at 12:00 A.M. until June 30, 2020 at 11:59 P.M., unless otherwise stated. Click here for a summary of the Order. 

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April 20, 2020 - Gov. Kemp Announces Reopening of Georgia Businesses & Provides Additional COVID-19 Updates. On April 20, 2020, Governor Kemp announced the reopening of the businesses listed below. According to the governor, these listed businesses are not opening for business as usual but with minimum basic operations, adhering to social distancing and sanitation guidance. The governor shared that later this week guidance will be issued on proper sanitation and social distancing requirements for these businesses to operate prior to Phase One.

Opening Friday, April 24:

  • Gyms
  • Fitness centers
  • Bowling alleys
  • Body art studios
  • Barbers
  • Cosmetology hair design
  • Esthetics
  • Nail care schools
  • Massage therapists

Opening Monday, April 27:

  • Theaters
  • Private social clubs
  • Restaurant dine-in services

 The governor’s latest executive order detailing the flexibility for healthcare practices, moving certain businesses to minimum operations, and providing for emergency response can be found here.

In addition, Governor Kemp stressed that the shelter in place will stay in effect through April 30, and he announced Georgia’s updated COVID-19 testing plan, which includes the ability for Georgia residents to utilize the COVID-19 virtual screening offered by Augusta University Health System. Learn more about the screenings. According to the governor, physicians are available to users 24/7 via this telemedicine capability.

Watch Governor Kemp’s full press conference.

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April 8, 2020 - Kemp, Duncan, Ralston Announce Plans to Extend Public Health State of Emergency. Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and Speaker David Ralston announced plans to extend Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under state law, the Governor may renew the public health state of emergency, which was otherwise set to expire on April 13, 2020. Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston agree it is necessary for the public health emergency to be renewed and will not be requesting a special legislative session, which was tentatively scheduled for April 15, 2020. Click here to view the press release.

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April 2, 2020 - Governor Kemp issued a new Executive Order to Ensure a Safe and Healthy Georgia. To view a summary of the order, click here.To access the Statewide Shelter In Place Handout, click here

Questions? See numbers below.

The Office of the Governor, Brian Kemp
Constituent Services: 404-656-1776

Georgia Department of Economic Development
800-255-0056 – For Hearing Impaired

Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency
800-TRYGEMA (800-879-4362)

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March 26, 2020 - Local Emergency Order from Oconee County regarding new COVID-19 regulations. Under the City of Watkinsville’s Service Delivery Strategy with Oconee County, all public health issues are the obligation of the county to address and enforce, including those within the incorporated area of Watkinsville. Therefore, no additional action is required of the city.  

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March 24, 2020 - Press Release from Oconee County regarding new COVID-19 regulations in response to Governor Kemp’s March 23, 2020 Executive Order.

COVID-19 Georgia Department of Public Health Guidance Document

CDC Coronavirus Self Checker

The CDC has created a tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. This system is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19.  

Click here to access the self checker.


Resources to Help Your Small Business Survive the Coronavirus

Small Business Administration
Georgia SBA application approved! Read declaration here. For those with questions regarding the SBA Disaster Loan Program, click here. The document outlines who is eligible, how much they may be eligible for, and the process and requirements to receive the loan.

COVID-19 Reopening Guide for Small BusinessesReopening guidelines by business type. 


The City of Watkinsville wants to make it as easy as possible for residents to find the community programs and services aimed at helping those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources are available thanks to a combination of local and state government programs, non-profit agencies, service providers, and more. We will work to continually update the information as more opportunities come online or additional needs arise.

Please note, the resources provided below are not comprehensive but intended to quickly connect residents with tools for addressing immediate needs. As neighbors, family members, residents, and friends, we must all do our part – as one city – to support one another during this difficult time.

If you have any medical or healthcare questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please go to the Georgia Department of Public Health or the Oconee County Health Department.

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STAY ALERT: Fraud & Scam Protection    

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Prevention website. The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams.


Daily updates (Noon & 7:00 PM) for DPH (Please REFRESH your browser to ensure you receive updated information) - 

Governor’s Executive Orders 

Governor’s Press Releases 

COVID-19 Hotline: 1-844- 442-2681

DECAL Hotline: 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS or 1-877-255-42-5437

Georgia Department of Labor
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is beginning to see an increase in the number of partial claims filed as a result of businesses reducing work hours or temporarily closing their doors as a result of recent developments of COVID-19.  As of an emergency ruling this week by the Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler, employers are mandated to electronically file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily lay workers off.  All Georgia employers will share in the cost of unemployment benefits paid to employees temporarily displaced due to COVID-19 easing the stress on business owners during this health crisis. These emergency rulings will help to simplify the process and get workers paid. All career centers are closed to the public, but employees are still working to process claims. Additional information may be found here or by contacting Tammy Liner, Phone: 404.232.7383, Email:

Department of Driver Services
DDS has issued a 120-day extension for drivers 60 years old and older in driver license renewals. This link has details of the extension and other related information. 

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Beginning Thurs., March 19 - OCS School Nutrition staff will be at Oconee County Middle School from 12-1 p.m. each weekday during the COVID-19 closure to provide meals free of charge to all students up to age 18 and special education students up to age 21. Students will be able to pick up lunch, as well as breakfast for the next morning. Please enter from the Hog Mountain Rd. entrance. For more information on the OCS Meal Service, click here


(706) 549-4850

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Georgia Crisis and Access Line - (800) 715-4225

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Georgia (NAMI Georgia) - Helpline: (800) 408-0625

Suicide Prevention Lifeline - (800) 273-TALK or (800)-SUICIDE

National Youth Crisis Hotline - (800) 442- HOPE (4673)

For more mental health resources, click here

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Dial 211 or visit 211 online. 211 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects  people of all ages and from all communities to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Athens Community Council on Aging

(706) 549-4850

Oconee County Non-emergency dispatch for law fire, and EMS

(706) 769-5665

The Vet at Blue Ridge

(706) 769-7205; offers drop-off appointments

Watkinsville City Hall

(706) 769-5161


Watkinsville Responds to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

(Friday, March 13, 2020) In response to Governor Kemp’s “call to action,” many schools and some offices are closing for the next two weeks. The following are the closings the City is aware of at this time:

  • Oconee County Schools are closed through March 27. For more information, click here.
  • UNG – Oconee Campus: Classes are suspended for two weeks. Offices remain open.

The agencies in Georgia that are leading the response to the Coronavirus are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

The lead agency in our 10-county area is the Northeast Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The Oconee County Emergency Management Agency is the City’s main, local contact. Oconee County EMA is in constant contact with the Georgia DPH and will continue to work closely with the Northeast Health District to ensure the local response is appropriate given the circumstances.

Although the Georgia DPH considers the risk low to Georgia’s general population. The City encourages residents to review their emergency plans and for local businesses to review their business continuity plans. More information on preparing for COVID-19 and other emergency events is available at

Watkinsville residents should follow the following agencies’ coronavirus webpages for updates and recommendations:

The City wants to caution the public from panicking and instead encourages everyone to remain calm and take time to become informed about the Coronavirus Disease. In addition to the City’s website, below are some additional resources available to citizens:

The most important action citizens can take is to follow the following “Best Practices,” according to the Georgia DPH:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • The flu is still widespread and active throughout the state, so if you have not already gotten a flu shot, it is not too late. While the flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, it will prevent serious complications that require hospitalization and prevent overburdening the health care system in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 and develop fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

For more information, please contact DPH directly at: