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Georgia mayors, leaders criticize Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen state

Georgians and Public Health Experts Are Really Concerned About Brian Kemp’s “Reckless” and “Irresponsible” Coronavirus Plan

After Gov. Brian Kemp released his “reckless” and “irresponsible” order forcing Georgia to reopen despite warnings that “speed[ing] up the reopening of Georgia’s economy will cost lives,” leaders across Georgia and the country criticized Kemp for his “politically motivated” order that “defies the warning of many public health officials.” Here’s what they had to say.

Georgia mayors:
“We need to, as government leaders, step up and give people an incentive to stay home. But there’s nothing essential about going to a bowling alley in the middle of a pandemic.” – Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

“I think the decision is irresponsible… I’m flabbergasted that the governor would say we can’t take additional precautions to protect our citizens. This isn’t a mixed signal. It’s a U-turn.” – Bo Dorough, mayor of Albany GA — which has the 4th highest rate of COVID-19 in the world.

“In my mind, this is reckless. It blows our minds that here in Georgia that we would have these types of rules being lifted in a time when people are still suffering.” – Savannah Mayor Van Johnson

Bernice King, chief executive of the King Center and member of Kemp’s coronavirus task force:
“Like many of you who are in the state of Georgia, I’m extremely concerned about the governor’s plans and what his decisions will mean for the safety, health and lives of Georgia residents”

National infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci:
“You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”

GA House Democratic Caucus:
“Combined with the state’s well-documented struggles with testing capacity, this premature executive order puts Georgians at risk and may very well wind up resulting in more prolonged restrictive measures in the future.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial board:
“We can’t forget that people are still contracting the disease and dying from it. That means that while the pace has slowed, we’ll have to continue to follow the policies that public health experts have urged, lest we risk a resurgence of the virus….The governor and other leaders must acknowledge realities around the pandemic in Georgia. We lack systems to conduct widespread testing, which is the single most important matter as we consider reopening our state.”

Public health expert Dr. Mark Lipsitch:
“If you open up enough, it’s almost for certain the virus will hit Georgia again. It’s just waiting for more susceptible people and more contacts. That’s how viruses work.”

Even Republican South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham:
“I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon.”

Meanwhile, Kemp justified his very risky decision by equating going to the grocery store with sweating at the gym, saying “I imagine there will be people in gyms that will be a lot safer than they would be going to the grocery store or some of the places of business that are part of the critical infrastructure.”

“Leaders and health experts across the country are seriously concerned because Brian Kemp hasn’t provided Georgians enough tests or health care providers enough resources to deal with this crisis, and now his half-baked plan will threaten lives across our state,” said Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams. “Kemp has failed every step of the way to actually protect Georgians and is now pushing forward with a reckless plan to reopen Georgia without input from medical experts or his own coronavirus task force. Right now, we need to listen to the experts — and everyone agrees that Brian Kemp’s plan will only make things worse.”

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