Friday 24 April 2020

Trump: I ‘Disagree Strongly’ With Georgia Opening Some Facilities

As Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp takes steps to ease some of the state’s coronavirus social distancing measures, President Trump expressed his “strong” disagreement with Kemp’s decision to reopen “certain facilities.”
“I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities,” Trump said at the coronavirus briefing Wednesday, as reported by NBC News. “But at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right. But I disagree with him on what he’s doing.”
Kemp has been one of the more aggressive governors in moving to reopen as quickly and as safely as possible. “Due to favorable data [and] more testing, gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools [and] massage therapists can reopen Friday, April 24 with Minimum Basic Operations,” Kemp announced on social media Monday. “Minimum Basic Operations includes, but is not limited to, screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing masks [and] gloves if appropriate, separating workspaces by six feet, teleworking if possible [and] implementing staggered shifts. Subject to specific social distancing [and] sanitation mandates, theaters, private social clubs [and] restaurant dine-in services will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27. … Bars, nightclubs, operators of amusement park rides & live performance venues will remain closed.”
Amid pushback and overwhelmingly negative coverage from the mainstream media, including CNN, Kemp has defended his plan to get the state reopened and people back to work. In an appearance on Fox News Tuesday evening, Kemp told Martha MacCallum that his handling of the reopening is being guided by the state’s top public health officials, who, he said, support his “measured approach” to reopening.
“I announced this on Monday so we can have time to educate the public and the business owners that this is just not handing them the keys back to go back to where we were,” said the Republican governor. “This is a measured approach with a lot of different requirements and guidance that we’re going to be putting out. And I’m very confident of that step. It was done in conjunction with public health officials based on the data that we’re seeing in our state and the gateways to the phase one part of the president’s plan.”
Kemp stressed that he made the decision with the guidance and approval of epidemiologist Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.
“I did not make this decision without her support,” Kemp explained. “We poured over this data. We’re looking at all kind of different models. I’ve had hospital CEOs that I’ve been … in contact with that reached their peak way back on April the 6th. … They support a measured opening which is what we are doing. It’s going to be very limited in scope, basic operations. We’re talking about a few businesses that I closed down to help flatten the curve which we have done in our state. But for us to continue to ask them to do that while they lose everything, quite honestly, there are a lot of civil repercussions of that, mental health issues. We’re seeing more patients in our trauma centers in our state because people are just you know, they’re tired of it.”
On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department revealed that another 4.4 million Americans filed new jobless claims, bringing the total to over 26 million in just five weeks since the implementation of widespread shutdowns.

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