Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday that certain businesses can reopen this week in a move that breaks from the majority of state leaders and defies the warnings of many public health officials.
Kemp said specifically that fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair and nail salons, and massage therapy businesses can reopen as early Friday, April 24. Theaters and restaurants will be allowed to open on Monday, April 27, while bars and night clubs will remain closed for now.
The decision follows new guidance unveiled by President Donald Trump last week meant to help states loosen their social distancing restrictions.
According to an influential model often cited by the White House, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Georgia hit its projected "peak" for daily deaths 13 days ago, on April 7.
But that same model predicts that dozens of people will die each day in the coming week. And to limit a resurgence of the virus, the model says that Georgia shouldn't start relaxing social distancing until after June 15 -- when the state can begin considering other measures to contain the virus, such as contact tracing and isolation.
Notably, Kemp said Monday that no local ordinance can restrict the openings, which will be implemented statewide. "In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus' spread, today we're announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy," he told reporters.
So good luck to Atlanta and southwest Georgia, two of the hardest hit areas in the country, as I expect a catastrophic spike in the state's COVID-19 cases in two weeks and thousands of deaths in three.
Here in Kentucky, a week after Easter Sunday church services and protests in Frankfort at the State Capitol, we've had our biggest spike in new cases yet.
Kentucky experienced its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases after protests broke out in the state to lift lockdowns, according to reports.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced there were 273 new cases Sunday, bringing the total to 2,960, news station WCPO reported.
“We are still in the midst of this fight against a deadly and highly contagious virus,” Beshear said. “Let’s make sure, as much as we’re looking at those benchmarks and we’re looking at the future, that we are acting in the present and we are doing the things that it takes to protect one another.”
The Bluegrass State is among the regions that have seen demonstrators take to the streets last week to call for the end of lockdown restrictions.
I'm hoping Kentucky doesn't make the same mistake Georgia has, it will be a fatal one for many.
Republicanism is a death cult, full stop.