South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday warned that Georgia might be “going too fast too soon” to reopen its economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I support what South Carolina Governor @henrymcmaster announced yesterday — a small reopening of our state’s economy with a focus on social distancing,” the Republican lawmaker tweeted.
“I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon,” he added.
I support what South Carolina Governor @henrymcmaster announced yesterday — a small reopening of our state's economy with a focus on social distancing.
I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) April 21, 2020
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans Monday to restart the state’s economy before the end of the week, saying he would allow gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen as long as owners follow strict social-distancing and hygiene requirements.
Elective medical procedures would also be able to resume.
By Monday, restaurants would be allowed to start limited dine-in service and movie theaters would be allowed to resume selling tickets.
The rush to reopen the state runs counter to the advice of many experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top authority on infectious diseases, who warned again Monday that resuming business too soon risked a renewed spike in infections and deaths.
Kemp asserted that his decision was not influenced by politics.
“I can tell you, I don’t give a damn about politics right now. We’re talking about somebody who has put their whole life into building a business, that has people that they love and work with every single day — working in many of these places,” Kemp said.
But Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told ABC News she and other Democratic mayors were blindsided by Kemp’s move, the AJC reported.
“It appears that the governor’s orders supersedes anything that I can do as mayor, but I certainly still have my voice that I can use. And what I’ll continue to ask Atlantans to do is to please stay at home,” she said.
“I’m not sure what data the governor is referencing in helping him make this decision. I’ve not spoken with him. I’ve talked with the mayor of the second-most popular city in Georgia, Mayor [Hardie] Davis in Augusta. He’s not spoken with him. So we don’t know what the governor is looking at.”
Georgia saw the death toll spike on Monday, reporting an additional 94 deaths since Sunday night. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were a total of 799 deaths reported in the state.