Brian Kemp

Gov. Brian Kemp discusses the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak in a news conference Wednesday afternoon, April 1, 2020, at Liberty Plaza in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — Georgia will go under shelter-in-place rules at 6 p.m. Friday in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Brian Kemp had resisted calls for essentially shutting down the state but said Wednesday he changed his mind based on knowledge the disease can spread through asymptomatic people.

“We are taking action to protect our hospitals, help our medical providers and prepare for patient surge,” Kemp said. “This action will ensure uniformity among jurisdictions for Georgians sheltering in place and help families and businesses comply with its provisions.”

Kemp said the guidance issued early Thursday night is designed to “get Georgians prepared” for the order that runs through April 13.

“We will continue to monitor the data and make adjustments as needed, keeping members of the public informed every step of the way,” he said.