Some Georgia Businesses Can Reopen. But Will They?

After President Trump revealed the coronavirus task force’s road map for states to reopen their economies earlier this month, Gov. Brian Kemp—the Republican from Georgia—was among the first to announce a plan. “In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus’ spread, today, we are announcing plans to incrementally—and safely—reopen sectors of our economy,” he declared at a press conference on Monday. Gyms, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, hairdressers, and the like will be permitted to open their doors starting tomorrow. Theaters and dine-in restaurants can follow suit on Monday.

Kemp was not alone in pushing his state along the path toward normalcy. Republicans Henry McMaster in South Carolina and Bill Lee in Tennessee also announced plans this week to begin reopening segments of their states’ economies; Democratic Gov. Jared Polis did the same in Colorado. 

But Georgia—with its 21,214 confirmed COVID-19 cases—is outpacing Colorado by a factor of two, Tennessee by a factor of three, and South Carolina by a factor of four and a half. The Peach State has tested only 94,072 people for the virus—about 0.9 percent of the state’s population.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has spent the last several days on a media blitz opposing Kemp’s decision, conceding that while the governor’s order “supersedes” her own authority, that won’t stop her from speaking up. “What I will continue to ask Atlantans, is to please stay at home,” she told ABC News’ Linsey Davis. “It is extremely concerning when people don’t know how they will eat and how they will pay their bills. But these are concerns that you have when you are amongst the living.”

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