On the same day that Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp lifted shelter-in-place orders, which spawned immense criticism, over 1,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the department reported a total of 27,023 on Friday, May 1st, compared to nearly 26,000 just one day prior. Thirty-three new deaths were also reported on Thursday, bringing Georgia’s death toll to 1,140.
Kemp gave the green light to businesses such as beauty salons, bowling alleys, and gyms to reopen on April 24th. Restaurants and movie theaters were allowed to open this past Monday. Businesses that open must adhere to “minimum basic operations” of safety, including “screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing gloves and masks if appropriate, separating workspaces by at least 6 feet, and teleworking where at all possible, and implementing staggered shifts.” However, there is no word yet on how these stipulations will be enforced, particularly in salons, where there is a great amount of touching, making 6-foot social distancing nearly impossible.
Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has expressed her disdain for Kemp’s decision, urging residents to continue staying inside unless necessary.
“Reopening the state and relaxing social-distancing measures now is irresponsible and could even be deadly,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in her op-ed article in The Atlantic on Thursday. “Our hospitals may not be stretched to capacity, but that does not mean we should work to fill the vacant beds. I strongly believe that our health-care system is not overwhelmed because we have been socially distancing.”