Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Announces Aggressive Plan To Open Some Businesses Starting Friday
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that parts of the state's economy will start to reopen on Friday.
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Governor Kemp said that multiple businesses including gyms, salons, massage therapists, and bowling alleys will reopen beginning April 24. In addition to those businesses, Kemp said restaurants, theaters and personal clubs will be allowed to reopen on April 27.
This plan is the most aggressive we've seen to date in the U.S. but Kemp says safety and health are still priority #1.
Throughout this entire process, from creating the coronavirus task force to today, we have relied on data, science, and the advice of health care professionals to guide our approach and decision-making. We have been surgical, methodical, and tactical -- always putting the health and well-being of our citizens first.
Kemp did warn that the businesses being allowed to open would not be operating under a "business as usual" mindset. This is very important to note because the governor mentioned that some businesses may only be allowed to reopen in an effort to let them manage payroll and inventory.
In addition, social distancing would be "strictly enforced" along with screening requirements for fever. Masks, gloves, and enhanced "sanitation efforts" are just a few of the stipulations that will come with the reopening.
By taking this measured action, we will get Georgians back to work safely without undermining the progress that we have all made in the battle against COVID-19
Governor Kemp's decision to open early was met with backlash from local mayors, and a mixture of anxiety and anxiousness from local businesses.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Kemp's decision made her "concerned" as both "a mother and as the mayor of our capital city."
I'm perplexed that we have opened up in this way, and again I can't stress enough, I work very well with our governor, and I look forward to having a better understanding of what his reasoning is. But as I look at the data and as I talk with our public health officials, I don't see that it's based on anything that's logical.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson shared Bottoms' sentiment, saying he was "beyond disturbed" at the call.
In my mind, this is reckless. It blows our minds that here in Georgia that we would have these types of rules and being lifted in a time when people are still suffering.
Even on a federal level, Kemp's decision was questioned by Republican Senator Linsday Graham, who has been working closely with President Trump on reopening businesses in America.
It probably doesn't help Governor Kemp's case that he was one of the last governors in the U.S. to sign a stay-at-home order. It definitely doesn't help his case that just last week he was scrutinized when he admitted that he had just found out that asymptomatic people could still spread coronavirus—something health experts warned about as early as January.
Kemp hit back at the concern over the data that brought him to the conclusion given that deaths continue to rise.
Former director of the CDC based in Atlanta Jeffrey Koplan says he has no clue what numbers Kemp is basing this decision on.
I haven’t seen any numbers that support that in Georgia yet. There’s talk of it tapering off into a plateau and talk of it looking better than the models, but it feels very premature. I think it’s dangerous. This is no time for this kind of experimentation.
Some businesses do feel like it's too early but will take the proper precautions and safety measures on the reopening date. Others are opting to remain closed until further testing and/or a vaccine is available.
Venues such as music halls, nightclubs and bars will remain closed.
See the full story via USA Today here.