Since the governor of Georgia announced last week that he was reopening hair salons, barbershops, nails shops throughout his state, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been making the media rounds to encourage her city to stay at home.
Her newest stop was on Monday’s episode of The Tamron Hall Show where the 50-yer-old political leader told the host that reopening these non-essential businesses in the midst of an increasing pandemic is going to put the Black community in harm’s way.
“When I saw that hair salon, it made my heart sink,” Mayor Bottoms admitted to Tamron Hall.
“Because we all know what that means. It means that you’re going to have people close to each other, you’re going to leave those hair salons, go back to their families and to their communities and potentially spread this virus. It is so surprising to me that people have such a disregard for the science and the data, especially when you look at the African American community, where there is a barbershop and hair salon on every single corner.”
Bottoms also pointed out that even if you are taking precautions while performing services, you understand the risk if still lurking, so why take it in the first place?
“When I see pictures of people getting their beards trimmed without a mask on, we know that you are putting one another at risk. And that is what this is all about. It’s about not putting each other at risk, especially in a city and in a state where so many people have underlying health conditions that often make this virus deadly.”
For Bottoms, Gov. Kemp’s reopening of the state is purely about money.
“The only thing I can think of is this is driven purely by economics. We are facing a $4 billion shortfall in our state’s budget, and I know that when people fill out unemployment applications, they are asked, ‘Do you have the ability to go back to work?’ So perhaps this will impact the benefits that have to be paid out to people,” she stated.
See her Tamron Hall interview below:
Last Friday, Governor Brian Kemp opened slew of non-essential businesses such as hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and gyms, while movie theaters and bowling alleys opened on the 27.
Bottoms recently told CNN that regardless of what Kemp says and does, she wants for her city to stay home.
“We have public health officials, scientists, and experts who are saying that for us to get through this pandemic and for us to get to the other side of this crisis, we have to socially distance,” Bottoms recently told CNN.
“What I expect to see is that some people simply will not listen. Some people will go into hair salons and get manicures and pedicures as if it’s business as usual, and I expect that in a couple of weeks, we will see our numbers continue to rise in this state.”
Adding, “Nothing has changed. People are still dying. We’ve got to get money into the pockets of people who are concerned about putting food on their tables and paying their rent. That’s where we should be putting our energy.”
It’s important to note that COVID-19 infections in Georgia jumping by 500 cases on Saturday, the day after Kemp reopened the first round of these businesses, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. As of Tuesday, April 28, according to the Georgia Department of Health data, more than 1,035 Georgians have died from complications of the virus, with nearly 25,000 diagnosed. African-Americans account for 8,918 those diagnosed and more than 50 percent of coronavirus-related deaths.