Augusta Mayor, Hardie Davis, speaks with CNN’s Don Lemon on reopening businesses in Ga

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(CNN) – Georgia Mayors responding to Governor Kemp’s decision to reopen
businesses and lift stay-at-home restrictions:

Mayor Davis: “Again, this is my first time hearing about it in the press conference this afternoon. I’ve enjoyed a very strong relationship with Governor Kemp. Again, we’ve talked about on a number of occasions where we are not just in Augusta but in the state of Georgia. Again when the press conference began, we began the conversation about opening gyms and those Businesses that have been deemed nonessential, but think the thing that struck me as equally odd as the conversation around houses of worship. I not only serve as the mayor of Augusta, Georgia, but i pastor a church here in this community as well and and to hear that we can continue to worship live stream and also in parking lots, but if you wanted to go back to the sanctuary, i was extremely shocked by that, particularly in light of the fact that the governor has indicated on a number of occasions his grave concern was around religious worship places, houses of faith where you saw those initial outbreaks in the state of Georgia. I do want to applaud the governor for his leadership up to this point, but i think all of us — those of us who are mayors leading some of Georgia’s largest cities, we find ourselves, quite frankly, shocked by the decision that took place today.”

Anchor: “we’re having a bit of trouble with Mayor Dorough’s shot. If we can get it back up, we’ll bring him back in. Mayor Davis, let me continue with you. Everybody is worried about the economy and jobs and businesses. If you own a gym or work at a bowling alley, i’m sure you want to be back up and running, but what about the risk to the employees and the public as a whole? Has this been thought through enough? Because they’re saying practice social distancing. How do you practice that when you have to touch people and you have to be in their face?”

Mayor Davis: “I’m not sure what the approach was in terms of the governor getting input or data from those adviser that he has, but when you look at places people congregate at, gyms are certainly those places, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, those are places where we’re all in close proximity to one another, and without a series of educational efforts to those industries, it’s going to be extremely difficult for us to continue to flatten the curve. So out of an abundance of caution, i would encourage great Georgians all across this state out after an abundance of caution to be very measured going into those places of business, whether you’re patronizing or whether you’re employees. It’s extremely important for us to continue to follow the CDC guidelines right now, and i don’t know of any communications that are being prepared to distribute in communities across Georgia, particularly with the goal of opening up on Friday through this weekend and on Monday restaurants possibly opening up as well. I think we just, again, are at a place where we’re putting folks in harm’s way as opposed to taking these grave measures to continue to flatten the curve.”

Anchor: “Well, that’s Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. of Augusta, Georgia. We appreciate that. We had the mayor of Albany, Georgia. I want to say Dougherty County is where — is where he is. His city is — has seen the most coronavirus deaths in Georgia, 98 deaths. It is a hot spot.”

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