Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is “perplexed” by the idea that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wants to reopen the state despite rising cases of COVID-19. And she’s not alone.

On Monday night Bottoms spoke to Chris Cuomo by Skype and told the CNN host that she was “at a loss” regarding Kemp’s decision to allow theaters, bowling alleys, nail salons, barbershops and other virus-prone establishments that don’t allow for social distancing to open on Friday. She says it’s a decision that was made without consulting leaders from a number of big cities throughout the southern state and cited data that would cause any responsible leader to determine that more time was needed to “flatten the curve.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Bottoms appeared on Meet the Press Daily and said while she can’t supersede Governor Kemp’s decision, she was prepared to sound the alarm as best as she can, warning people to stay home. “I am using my voice to encourage people. Follow the data, look at the science, listen to the health care professionals and use your common sense,” Bottoms said. “Simply because we have hospital beds available doesn’t mean that we should work to fill them up.” 

Stacey Abrams, whom Governor Kemp opposed in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election and used voter suppression to defeat, was equally critical. In a tweet following Kemp’s announcement, she said, “Georgia: 14th highest infection/7th lowest testing rate; less econ resilient & 1000s of low-wage workers already forced to risk their lives to make a living. Weakened healthcare w/closed rural hospitals, no Medicaid expansion & a doctor shortage. Reopen? Dangerously incompetent.”

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On Tuesday, Abrams made her rounds on morning news shows and was very vocal about her objection to Governor Kemp’s order. During an interview with CBS This Morning‘s Gayle King, she called Kemp’s decision “deeply problematic” and added, “There’s no legitimate reason for reopening the state except for politics, and I think it’s deeply disingenuous he would pretend otherwise.”

On MSNBC, Abrams argued that Georgia’s health infrastructure was not ready for what reopening the state could mean for residents. “These jobs that are reopening, these businesses that are reopening, are going to force frontline workers back to work without having been tested, without having access to a health care system to help them if they are in need,” she said.  Governor Kemp’s insistence on pushing for a “false opening of the economy,” Abrams insisted, risks “putting more lives in danger.”


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