COVID-19 Update (April 22, 2020)

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the news Governor Kemp made Monday when he announced the reopening of Georgia businesses starting Friday.

During his remarks, Gov. Kemp said the data showed we are “on the other side of this curve.” To be clear: no publicly available data shows this. Instead, the data shows that Georgia remains 14th in cases per capita and 42nd in tests per capita. So the truth is, we don’t even have an accurate view of how widespread the outbreak really is in Georgia.

The state’s own data shows we have not maintained a downward trajectory of cases for 14 days, meaning we don’t even meet President Trump’s criteria for reopening. This has led some of the President’s staunchest allies to call out Governor Kemp for moving “too fast, too soon.”

Gov. Kemp’s reopening of businesses this week makes Georgia an outlier compared with how other states are handling the crisis. More alarming, it appears there was no robust discussion among key stakeholders––including the mayors of Georgia’s largest cities and members of Gov. Kemp’s own COVID-19 task force––prior to his announcement Monday. Public health officials across the state are denouncing the plan to reopen as reckless.

I am very concerned that Gov. Kemp’s actions will put Georgians’ lives at risk unnecessarily. I am also concerned about those Georgians who will be forced to go back to work by their employers before it is safe to do so. I have shared these concerns with the Governor’s team and will continue to do so.

In the meantime, I will continue to keep you updated on the latest developments. Below is a detailed summary of the Governor’s newest Executive Order.

Please stay safe. Please stay home.

-Matthew

COVID-19 RESOURCES
For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus and how best to protect yourself and your family, please check the following:
Georgia Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Prevention & Control 

GA Department of Public Health hotline: 1-844-442-2681 

To view my past updates on Georgia’s response to COVID-19, please visit my website here.

Governor Kemp’s plan to reopen Georgia businesses

Monday afternoon, Gov. Kemp announced changes to his statewide restrictions to allow businesses to reopen. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Businesses able to open “as soon as practicable”:
    • All medical practices, dental practices, orthodontics practices, optometry practices, physical therapists, ambulatory surgical centers, physicians performing elective surgeries, healthcare institutions, medical facilities, and any and all other healthcare-related practices and services.
    • These businesses are not required to implement any specific restrictions but are encouraged to abide by sanitation recommendations issued by the Governor.
  • Businesses able to open on Friday, April 24th
    • All gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, beauty shops and salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, hair designers, massage therapists.
    • These businesses may return to in-person operations but must implement “Minimum Basic Operations” as defined in the Governor’s Executive Order and which basically require sanitation measures to include:
      • Suspending the use of PIN pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent permitted by credit card companies;
      • Social distancing; and
      • Providing for curbside pick-up, where possible
    • Further, the Georgia State Board of Cosmetologists and Barbers recommends additional measures be implemented, including temperature checks of customers and more specific sanitation efforts for barbers and salons.
    • No local governments will be able to implement restrictions different from these (either more or less stringent).
  • Businesses able to open on Monday, April 27th
    • Theaters, private social clubs, and restaurant dine-in services.
    • The Governor has not released specific information yet about any restrictions that will be placed on these establishments.
  • Businesses that must remain closed:
    • Bars, nightclubs, amusement parks, and live performance venues.
  • Shelter-in-place order for Georgians REMAINS IN EFFECT:
    • Gov. Kemp’s shelter-in-place order of April 2nd remains in effect for all Georgians through April 30th, and those Georgians considered “medically fragile” (or family members living with a “medically fragile” loved one) are urged to shelter-in-place through May 13th.
  • Places of worship:
    • In-person services may begin immediately.

NEXT MONDAY: Brookhaven Councilmembers co-host Town Hall

Brookhaven Councilmembers Madeleine Simmons and John Park will co-host a virtual town hall next Monday from 6–7 p.m. on the city’s Facebook page. The public can ask questions and comment during the forum via Facebook or by emailing PublicComment@BrookhavenGA.gov.