- On Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp went on Fox News‘ “The Story” to defend his decision to begin reopening the state.
- Kemp announced on April 20 that some businesses, including nail salons, barbershops, and gyms, could reopen starting Friday, while restaurants and movie theatres could reopen beginning April 27.
- Some local politicians, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, criticized his decision.
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At a news conference on Monday, Kemp announced that businesses such as nail salons, barbershops, and gyms could reopen Friday, while restaurants and movie theaters could reopen on April 27. He said that businesses should “adhere to the minimum basic operations” and on Fox News, referred to it as “the gateways to the phase one part of the president’s plan” to ultimately reopen the nation.
“People are just tired of it. It’s a tough balance. I understand where folks … may agree or disagree,” Kemp said. “I’ve got some people that are protesting me because I took this step and I may have others that protest because I didn’t go far enough.”
The governor said he consulted public health officials before making his decision, and they support a “measured opening” of the state. Kemp also said he took into consideration the possible development of “mental health issues” among those whose businesses are being affected by the shutdown.
“We are talking about a few businesses that I closed down to help flatten the curve,” he said. “But for us to continue to ask them to do that while they lose everything, quite honestly, there are a lot of civil repercussions of that, mental health issues.”
Kemp has faced backlash from both Republicans and Democrats for his decision to begin reopening the state. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she was “perplexed” by his decision and that Kemp’s plan wasn’t based on “anything logical.”
Business Insider’s Grace Panetta previously reported that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned that Georgia might be “going too fast too soon” but that he respects “Georgia’s right to determine its own fate.”
Georgia currently has over 20,000 reported cases of the coronavirus, and, according to projections, the outbreak there won’t reach its peak until after May 2.