Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN’s Chris Cuomo tonight that she wasn’t consulted by Gov. Brian Kemp before he announced that businesses would begin reopening on Friday, April 24.
“When I look at the data, I see our [COVID-19} numbers are going up,” Bottoms said. “The death rate is up 14 percent, positives up 7 percent. We’re not testing for asymptomatic.”
Just hours after Kemp announced that businesses like gyms, nail shops, hair salons and bowling alleys, could start reopening on Friday, the Georgia Department of Public Health released the latest COVID-19 statistics for the state showing that 42 more people have died just since noon today bringing the death toll to 775. The total number of confirmed cases now sits at 19,399. These figures appear to fly in the face of Kemp’s comment that “favorable data” prompted his decision to allow businesses to start reopening.
“I’m perplexed that we’re opening up this way,” Bottoms said. “I don’t see what the data is based on that’s logical.”
Bottoms said she spoke to the mayor of Augusta, the state’s second most populace city, who was also not consulted by Kemp. However, Kemp’s order is absolute and cannot be countermanded by cities or counties.
“My mother ran a beauty salon, so I understand the economic pull of this, but you have to live to be able to fight another day,” the mayor said. “If we’re not alive on the other side, there won’t be a recovery to be had. How do you get a haircut and stay a safe distance from someone cutting your bangs?”
Bottoms said has issued an administrative order directing the City’s Chief Operating Officer to convene an advisory council on the measures needed and steps to be taken in order to end the mayor’s Stay at Home Order when that time is appropriate. The advisory council will include representatives from MARTA, Atlanta Public Schools, Grady Hospital, Emory University, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and representatives from restaurants, retail, arts and culture community, the film industry and faith community among others.