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In the wake of Georgia’s governor announcing that in the midst of a deadly coronavirus pandemic, he is reopening businesses such as beauty shops and barbershops, elected officials are sounding off. One of them, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, claims that she was not consulted about this new strategy and learned about it like everyone else, by watching the news.

“I saw the announcement watching Channel 2 like the rest of Georgia,” Mayor Bottoms told WSBTV News.

“I didn’t know it was coming and obviously the governor is the governor and he certainly has the prerogative to make orders that he deems appropriate. He did not consult with me. I don’t know what the reasoning and data that the governor used to make this decision was, because I have not spoken with him, but I did not know in advance.”

While Gov. Brian Kemp’s reasoning for the reopening was based on data from the Georgia Department of Public Health that suggested a “flattening of coronavirus cases,” Bottoms pushed back, telling WSBTV that people are still dying.

“As of 7 p.m. today, I believe we had deaths like over 13 percent, and so our numbers are still going up. Where we’re seeing our numbers really spike are in areas that were slow to close down like Bibb County. It concerns me when you talk about opening up houses of worship, and you know that our worst outbreak in the state came from two funerals, by and large in Albany, Georgia,” she stressed.

The second Black female mayor of Atlanta also questioned how safe can one be being so close to someone in these types of settings.

“You get your hair done, I get my hair done. I don’t know how you socially distance when someone is doing your hair or doing your nails, giving you a massage. These things are concerning to me, Bottoms said. “I do hope that I’m wrong and the governor is right. Because if he’s wrong, more people can die.”



As we previously reported, on Monday, Kemp announced during a press conference that certain businesses such as hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and gyms will reopen in his state on April 24; while movie theaters and bowling alleys will open on the 27. He is allowing for elective surgeries to take place as well.

“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,” Kemp told reporters on Monday.

Citing that he sought guidance from the President, he stressed that this reopening is geared to help small businesses that are suffering in this rocky economy due to the stay-at-home and quarantine orders.

“We appreciate their leadership and share in the President’s desire to reopen the economy and get Americans back to work, adding, “As a small business person for over thirty years, I know the impact of this pandemic on hardworking Georgians in every zip code and every community.”

In Kemp’s desire to jumpstart the state’s economy, it’s still important to note that as of Monday (April 20) afternoon, in the state of Georgia, there have been 18,947 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 733 deaths. Past Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) found that while African-Americans, who account for roughly 32 percent of the state’s population, make up nearly 50 percent of these deaths.

In the meantime to address these concerns in her city, Bottoms announced that she’s created an advisory council to create a similar plan for the city, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“Reopening the city must be executed in a cautious manner that is best suited for Atlanta,” Bottoms said in a prepared statement. “The advisory council will provide the necessary input and buy-in from Atlanta stakeholders to outline a safe and thoughtful framework to get our economy back on track without endangering public health.”

The council will “advise the mayor on the measures needed and steps to be taken in order to end the Mayor’s Stay at Home Order,” the press release added.

In the end, regardless of what Kemp says, Bottoms wants for Atlanta residents to stay at home, telling ABC News, “We don’t know what the governor is looking at but what I do know is that we had nearly 19,000 people who tested positive as of this evening.”


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