State Watch

Atlanta mayor ‘perplexed’ by Georgia governor’s decision to partially reopen state

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said she is concerned and confused about Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) decision to allow some businesses across the state to begin reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m perplexed that we have opened up in this way,” Bottoms said Monday in an appearance on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”

“And, again, I can’t stress enough, I work very well with our governor, and I look forward to having a better understanding of what this reasoning is, but as I look at the data and as I talk with our public health officials, I don’t see that it’s based on anything that is logical,” she said.

Kemp said Monday that some businesses, including gyms, hair and nail salons and bowling alleys, will be allowed to reopen Friday with certain restrictions put in place.

Bottoms said she was not consulted ahead of Kemp’s decision and added that she wished the governor had left the choice up to local leaders.

“Our governor often defers to local control and I wish that this were an instance that he deferred to local control,” she said. “I don’t know how you get a haircut and keep a safe distance from someone who’s cutting your bangs. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Bottoms acknowledged the economic hardship facing small-business owners but stressed the urgency of fighting the health crisis. 

“You have to live to be able to fight another day, so when we’re talking about this economic pull and getting to recovery, if we’re not alive on the other side of it then there won’t be a recovery to be had,” she said.

Georgia’s shelter-in-place order expires April 30, but older individuals and people with underlying health conditions are encouraged to stay home until May 13. 

Businesses allowed to open Friday are required to stagger shifts, keep workspaces six feet apart, screen workers for respiratory illnesses and fevers, and ask workers to wear masks and gloves when “appropriate.” 

Kemp said theaters, private social clubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen April 27, with the same requirements in place. Bars and nightclubs will remain closed.

Georgia has reported 19,398 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 774 deaths. 

Tags Atlanta Brian Kemp Coronavirus Georgia Keisha Lance Bottoms reopening

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