Despite warnings from public health officials that reopening the economy too soon could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases, Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, announced Monday that gyms, hair and nail salons, and bowling alleys would open back up on Friday. Restaurants and movie theaters are slated to open the following Monday, April 27.
South Carolina and Tennessee have similarly relaxed restrictions on non-essential businesses, following a push from President Trump to allow some governors to reopen their states on or before May 1. Trump’s benchmarks for reopening recommend that states see steady declines in coronavirus cases for 14 days, that their hospital systems not be overwhelmed, and that they have robust testing available before reopening. Going into Monday, Georgia had seen five straight days of declines in new positives; the longterm trend is uncertain.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has cautioned against states reopening too quickly, telling the Associated Press, “I’ll guarantee you, once you start pulling back there will be infections.” He warned that without aggressive testing and contact tracing, case counts could skyrocket.
Meanwhile, 18,947 people in Georgia have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 733 people have died. As one Twitter user noted, Georgia’s schools are set to remain closed for the remainder of the school year.