When the pandemic reached Georgia in March, hospitals and nursing homes refused to visit their facilities. Governor Brian Kemp relaxed policies in September and banned visits only to health facilities with COVID-19 cases or counties with high infection rates.

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House Bill 290 allowed at least two family members or friends to visit patients for at least two hours each day. The bill would also prevent someone from suing a health facility if he or she becomes sick or injured because the hospital or nursing home allows patients to receive visitors.

The legislation would not replace an emergency governor’s order, but the governor would have to explicitly state that a visit is not allowed.

“HB 290 has a balanced, measured affirmation of patient humanity in ways that many could never have foreseen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Setzler said.