Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's (of course he's a Republican) decision to "loosen" his state's shutdown for coronavirus is getting significant resistance. That's in part because he consulted no one beyond the tiny, ranting Donald Trump that lives in his brain instead of the state’s mayors or the members of the coronavirus task force he created.
Mayors, like Atlanta's Keisha Lance Bottoms, are opposed. Bottoms is considering legal action to protect her city, which is "not out of the woods yet," she told CNN. "I have searched my head and my heart on this and I am at a loss as to what the governor is basing this decision on," she said. "You have to live to fight another day. And you have to be able to be amongst the living to be able to recover." It's kind of hard to argue with staying alive, unless you're a Republican. Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz, a Democrat like Bottoms, told CNN that people have said to him that they are "not going to frequent businesses right now because we don't feel safe. We're not going to return to work." He also said: "I've had a number of hair salon owners approach me over the last day and say we're not opening our doors back up because we care about our employees and we care about our clients."
Plenty of business owners are saying that, like Harry Spevak, the chairman of the corporation that owns SoulCycle gyms. They will not open this week and are "working with infectious disease experts to determine when and how to reopen." That's advisable, given Kemp is an idiot. Even South Carolina's own Trump whisperer, Sen. Lindsey Graham, sounded like a reasonable human being when he tweeted: "I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon. […] We respect Georgia's right to determine its own fate, but we are all in this together," Graham said. "What happens in Georgia will impact us in South Carolina."
Pastors are also resisting Kemp's call to have churches open on Sunday. Reginald T. Jackson, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) bishop for the Atlanta region, has directed the AME churches in the area to stay closed. "There is no need to increase the possibility of more sickness and death by gathering prematurely," Jackson said in a statement obtained by CNN. "We absolutely must increase testing, and flatten the curve before we begin to gather again."
Kemp, in his infinite Republican version of wisdom, decided that within the next few days and weeks he's going to open everything, starting with the meccas of social distancing, i.e., gyms, barber shops, hair and nail salons, massage therapists, tattoo parlors, and bowling alleys. Where obviously everyone can do what you do at those kinds of places 6 feet apart. (That's just got to be trolling. Even Kemp can't be stupid enough to believe that is a possible thing.) "Gyms, nail salons, bowling alleys, hair salons, tattoo parlors," former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Tuesday on CNBC. "It feels like they collected a list of the businesses you know that were most risky and decided to open those first."
Which is enough to make you think that maybe Kemp is looking at the news that the pandemic is disproportionally killing Black people and deciding that maybe this is an easier path to Republicans staying in power than having to come up with new ways of suppressing their vote.