ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s the battle of health versus wealth. Today, Georgia becomes one of the first U.S states to re-open gyms, barbers, nail salons, tattoo studios, massage centers and bowling alleys.
But mayors across the state call it shocking, and even the U.S. President criticizing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp saying “It’s too soon.”
Our Atlanta Bureau Chief, Archith Seshadri, speaks exclusively with Stacey Abrams and medical experts at Emory — on if and how ready Georgia really is.
Late to shut, and early to open — Georgia now faces a litmus test.
“I believe this is a dangerously incompetent decision that does not improve our economy. Bowling alleys will not save Georgia.”
Former gubernatorial candidate — Stacey Abrams says re-opening too soon will cost lives.
“We are a state that is the 8th largest, 14th highest coronavrius infection rate and 7th slowest testing rate.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says he’s relying on health data and just giving businesses an option to reopen and not a mandate.
“I don’t give a damn about politics right now.”Governor Brian Kemp
“We are talking about the lowest wage workers – I have never seen a long distance nail filing or a long distance tattoo. You cannot be in a salon and be 6 feet away.”
“Somebody that has put their whole life into building a business. Working in many of these places that are at home going broke worried about feed their children, make mortgage payment.”
“For every infected individual 2.5 – 3 people get infected.”
The state’s health department says another priority for Georgia is to work on contact tracing — making sure those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are able to retrace and see who they may have come in contact with so they stop the spread of the coronavirus.”
People say we’ve past the peak – we are done. It’s no different than going up Mount Everest. You still have to come down from the peak.
But emory health experts say while transmissions have gone down, there’s not a 14-day decline in Georgia just yet.
“We have this disparate set of responses where cities like Atlanta, Savannah and Albany which are being asked to grapple with the difficulties and are under-resourced and getting mixed messages about their responsibilities.
On monday, restaurants and theaters can reopen.
But bars, nightclubs and amusement parks must stay closed until the statewide shelter expires on April 30th.
The CDC predicts a second deadlier wave could hit during the next flu season later this year.