Friday, April 3, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Optometry is defined as critical infrastructure in the order; however; the order also provides 16 measures that businesses defined as critical infrastructure must follow:

  1. Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
  2. Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness not report to work or seek medical attention;
  3. Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
  4. Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
  5. Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location;
  6. Prohibiting gatherings of workers during working hours;
  7. Permitting workers to take breaks and lunch outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable;
  8. Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
  9. Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
  10. Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, whenever possible;
  11. Delivering intangible services wherever possible; 
  12. Discouraging workers from using other worker’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
  13. Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workplace; and 
  14. Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace; and 
  15. Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen; and 
  16. Suspending the use of Personal Identification Number (“PIN”) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit care receipt signature requirements to the extent such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies. 

As it stands, the executive order defines optometry as critical infrastructure under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s definitions ; however, this does not mean that all everyday operations of your practice are essential and that you are able to continue business as usual. The governor has the power to revise the order, meaning optometry’s status as critical infrastructure is subject to change. The GOA will notify our membership if that change is made. 

The office of the governor has put in place a reporting system where citizens can report those who violate the executive order. It is important that organized optometry in Georgia follows the 16 measures to protect our patients, our staff and our practices. 

If you or your staff are stopped by law enforcement on their way to work, the GOA and its general counsel have drafted a form letter attached here to provide to law enforcement, showing that you all are on your way to provide essential services. 

The GOA has also provided a template you can send to your patients in the event they are stopped by law enforcement on their way to their appointments. 

Providing you with the education, information and resources you need to serve your patients remains our number one priority. The GOA is committed to providing you with vital information during this time of uncertainty.

Thank you for all that you are doing for your patients, for your community, and for our profession during this public health emergency. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

*This memo was compiled with assistance from GOA General Counsel, Aubrey Villines.