The mayor of Tybee Island, Georgia—a small coastal city and a popular vacation spot in the state—is not having it with Governor Brian Kemp’s order to reopen beaches.
Mayor Shirley Sessions blasted Kemp’s order, which was given in the same breath as a statewide shelter-in-place executive order, in a strongly worded statement issued over the weekend.
“As the Pentagon ordered 100,000 body bags to store the corpses of Americans killed by the coronavirus, Governor Brian Kemp dictated that Georgia beaches must reopen—and declared that any decision-makers who refused to follow these orders would face prison and/or fines,” Sessions said in the statement, wasting no time getting to her point.
“While the beaches have to reopen under the Governor’s order, Tybee will not have beach access, and parking lots will remain closed until further notice. It should also be noted that Tybee currently is not properly staffed with Emergency Medical Services, and there are no lifeguards in place,” she added. “At no time has the state designated a single point of contact to orchestrate the implementation of the Governor’s plan.”
As CNN notes, although the city depends on tourism and beachgoers for its economy, in an effort to do its part to battle the coronavirus outbreak, the city council voted to close all beaches on March 20—and even put up barricades and signs to deter those who might want to take a trip anyway.
However, last Thursday, Gov. Kemp issued a statewide shelter-in-place executive order—and then reopened beaches across the state, overriding the city council’s vote.
Then again, this is the Kemp who drew attention and concern that same week when he claimed that he had only been recently informed that COVID-19 could be spread by individuals who were asymptomatic. Never mind that the CDC has been detailing information on what it knows about the spread of the virus, including asymptomatic carriers, for months now.
Sessions noted in her statement that the city has every intention of pursuing legal avenues to overturn what she calls Kemp’s “reckless mandate.”
“Tybee City Council and I are devastated by the sudden directives and do not support his decisions,” she wrote. “The health of our residents, staff and visitors is being put at risk, and we will pursue legal avenues to overturn his reckless mandate.”
In the meantime, Sessions is pleading with individuals to make the right choice and stay away from the beaches during this precarious time.
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