President Donald Trump said he opposes Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to allow many Georgia businesses to reopen at the end of this week, noting that he thinks “it’s too soon.”
“I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia,” Trump said during Wednesday’s coronavirus task force media briefing.
“I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing.”
Trump added, “I think it’s too soon.”
While schools in the state will stay closed for the rest of the school year, the Georgia governor announced Monday that gyms, hair salons and other similar businesses can begin to reopen on Friday, Fox News reported.
Kemp received immediate backlash following his announcement, and many mayors said the decision caught them off guard, according to The New York Times.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the media briefing that he would tell Kemp to “be careful.”
“I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go. Because there is a danger of a rebound,” he said.
“And I know there’s the desire to move ahead quickly — that’s a natural, human nature desire — but going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise him, as a health official and as a physician, not to do that.”
In a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon, Kemp said that he had discussed his decision with Trump and will continue to move forward with the plan.
“I appreciate his bold leadership and insight during these difficult times and the framework provided by the White House to safely move states forward,” he tweeted. “Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials.”
Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials. We will continue with this approach to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of all Georgians. (2/3) #gapol
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) April 22, 2020
He added, “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.”
The governors of Tennessee, Ohio and Colorado have also indicated they do not intend to extend stay-at-home orders in their states that are set to expire next week, according to The Times.
In a Monday executive order, South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said public beaches could be reopened for public access at the discretion of local leaders. He also said certain nonessential businesses could begin reopening that day as long as they follow social-distancing measures.
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