(CNN) — Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced they will ease restrictions this week despite not meeting White House recommendations of a two-week downward trend in cases before lifting measures.
“We have asked every governor to follow the guidelines, just as we have asked every American to follow the guidelines put out by the president,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator said Monday. “But each of the governors can decide for themselves whether they have reached specific guidelines in specific areas.”
On Monday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said certain businesses — including bowling alleys, body art studios and hair and nail salons — will reopen this week. Mayors in the state were left baffled by the announcement.
“We see our numbers are continuing to tick up in this state, we see that our deaths are rising. We have some of the highest asthma rates in the country right here in Atlanta,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. “Our governor often defers to local control and I wish that this were an instance that he deferred to local control.”
The decision came days after the White House released a three-part guide on reopening economies — saying states could begin the first phase after seeing a 14-day continuous decline in cases.
Last week, more than 5,700 new coronavirus cases were reported in Georgia, a rate that was down about 6 percent from the week before, but still higher than the week that ended April 5, when fewer than 3,800 new cases were reported. The numbers are based on data collected by CNN and Johns Hopkins University.
“I am beyond disturbed,” Savannah, Georgia, Mayor Van Johnson said. “We still have not done expanded testing and we do not have the 14-day decline.”
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