Nineteen more Georgians have died from COVID-19 just since noon today and another milestone was reached with 20,166 confirmed cases, according to new Georgia Department of Health figures.
As the number of deaths and coronavirus cases tick up, Gov. Brian Kemp is under heavy criticism from those who believe he’s reopening the state too soon. Kemp announced Monday that gyms, hair salons, nail shops, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys can reopen on April 24 and restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters and private social clubs on April 27.
Kemp’s move to jumpstart the economy even caught his own advisory team by surprise, according to a report in the AJC.
When asked about Georgia’s decision to reopen businesses, President Donald Trump called Kemp a “very capable man” during his Tuesday coronavirus briefing. Trump wondered aloud whether there would be testing before customers went into businesses and said he would ask Kemp. For the record, local businesses are not set up to do any kind of testing of its customers for COVID-19.
The White House issued guidelines last week that said states should show a 14-day downward trajectory of cases before starting to reopen businesses. Despite Kemp saying there was “favorable data,” Georgia has not shown a downward trajectory.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina tweeted that he respected Kemp’s decision, but said Georgia’s decision will have an impact on South Carolina. “I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon,” Graham tweeted.
Many businesses and restaurants have said they will not open even with permission due to safety concerns and liability risks.