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Trump, Bottoms Criticize Kemp's Decision to Reopen Georgia

by Hollis Bernard

 

President Donald Trump believes that it is too soon to reopen Georgia.

 

 

Trump Believes Kemp Opening Georgia Too Soon


On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said, “I want (Georgia Governor Brian Kemp) to do what he thinks is right. But…I think (opening) spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in Phase One…it’s just too soon.


“…There’s a lot of good feeling between myself and Brian Kemp. I like him a lot…I know the people from spas and beauty parlors, tattoo parlors. Bikers for Trump—a lot of tattoos. I love them. I love these people. And barbershops, these are great people. But you know what? Maybe wait a little bit longer until you get to Phase Two.”


President Trump’s comments came after Governor Kemp decided to reopen Georgia’s economy today despite pushback from national and local political leaders.


Trump has three phases of reopening state and local economies called “Opening Up America Again.”


Before implementing the three phases of reopening the economy, Trump recommends a downward trajectory of influenza-like sicknesses and coronavirus cases reported within a 14-day window.


The president also recommends seeing a decline in documented cases or positive tests as a percentage within a 14-day window.


Lastly, he wants to see that hospitals are treating patients without crisis care and have a sound testing policy for at-risk healthcare employees.


Phase One includes social distancing while in public, while settings with more than 10 people should be avoided. 


People should also minimize non-essential travel.


During Phase Two, vulnerable individuals should avoid the public.


Social distancing should still be utilized, and social settings with more than 50 people should be avoided.


Employers should encourage employees to work remotely.


However, schools, daycares and camps can reopen in Phase Two.


But, businesses like bars should reduce standing-room capacity in Phase Two.


In Phase Three, the vulnerable community no longer has to shelter-in-place.


Nevertheless, those with underlying health issues should practice social distancing and limit their exposure to settings in which social distancing is difficult.


Under Phase Three, large venues like sporting venues and movie theaters can reopen under limited physical distancing rules.


Despite Trump’s recommendations, Kemp reopened barbershops, beauty salons, nail shops, tattoo parlors, bowling alleys and many other businesses that experts deem as nonessential.


Although Trump criticized Kemp’s decision to reopen Georgia, he has tweeted that he wants several states to liberate themselves from stay-at-home orders.


Despite the danger that reopening these businesses might pose, Kemp wants to jump start the Georgia economy.


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that although he has “great respect for Governor Kemp…the best path forward is to follow the guidelines set by President Trump and his team.”


Although Kemp appreciated Trump’s interest in his state and his leadership, the plan to reopen the Georgia economy today has proceeded.


“Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials,” Kemp said. “I am confident that business owners who decide to reopen will adhere to minimum basic operations, which prioritize the health and well-being of employees and customers.”


Despite his refusal to budge on reopening non-essential businesses, many African-American residents of Georgia question the governor’s motives in opening certain businesses, while keeping other businesses closed.


Many of the businesses set to reopen today are businesses where stereotypically African-Americans gather to patronize or just to hang out like the barbershops, the beauty shops and the churches.


While Kemp reopened businesses that African-Americans patronize just to socialize and fellowship, he did not reopen businesses in which some White residents might congregate like tanning salons.


Rapper Killer Mike who, along with his wife, owns a chain of barbershops in the Atlanta area called The SWAG Shop said that he would not reopen his barbershops out of concern for the health of his employees and clients.


Many other African-American entrepreneurs in the cosmetology field have said they plan to keep their businesses closed too.


The coronavirus epidemic has hit the African-American community especially hard for numerous reasons, and many African-American entrepreneurs, pastors and community leaders do not want to exacerbate the situation by reopening businesses in which it is almost impossible to socially distance.


One Georgia pastor said that after being quarantined for weeks, many parishioners at his church would hug one another after not seeing each other for some time.


That type of behavior could lead to a rampant spread of COVID-19 in his community.


Despite Kemp’s decision to reopen Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is having none of it for her city.


And although Kemp has received criticism for his decision, critics of Mayor Bottoms have taken criticism to another level by texting racial slurs to her because of her appeal to Atlanta business owners to stay closed.


Bottoms said that she would pray for the person who sent her the racist text and says she will continue her good relationship with Kemp despite disagreeing with him on reopening the economy.


“I feel that we are still empowered to use our voices and to use our common sense, and that’s what I will continue to do as mayor,” Bottoms said. “And I have a good working relationship with the governor and I know that that will continue, but on this we disagree. And his authority as governor is what it is, and it certainly supersedes my authority as mayor on paper—but it doesn’t supersede my voice, and I will continue to use my voice to urge our communities, our business owners and our residents to stay in.”

This article was published on Friday 24 April, 2020.
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