Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is set to lift a number of restrictions in Georgia as early as Friday. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he disagrees with Kemp’s decision to move quickly to reopen large parts of the state’s economy.
“I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree, strongly, with his decision to open certain facilities,” Trump said.
The president, which has been encouraging governors to reopen their economies said that Georgia’s coronavirus case numbers don’t meet the threshold recommended to reopen under the White House guidelines for a three-phase reopening.
Trump said it’s “just too soon” for places like “spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barber shops.” “I love them, but they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit, not much,” Trump said.
Kemp praised Trump’s “bold leadership and insight during these difficult times” and thanked him for sharing his views but would stick with his plan for businesses to re-open with restrictions designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials,” Kemp said on Twitter. “We will continue with this approach to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of all Georgians.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, on the other hand, has moved in a much more measured pace. Ivey said that reopening the Alabama economy will be “data-driven and not date-driven,” and has put off issuing a timeline on the reopening.
Trump national finance committee member, former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr. praised the president and Ivey’s leadership on the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are very fortunate to have Donald J Trump as our Commander in Chief during this unprecedented time of crisis and Kay Ivey at the helm in Alabama,” Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter. “She is listening to her task force on re-opening Alabama and the states medical experts. She is developing a plan tailored to the unique needs of Alabama.”
Hooper said that he supports opening the economy as quickly as possible.
“President Trump and Governor Ivey have worked hard to create the most dynamic economy in Alabama History,” Hooper said. “We must have it up and running again as soon as possible in a safe responsible manner. I trust and the President trusts Kay Ivey to do just that.”
As of press time, the U.S. has 849,092 cases of COVID-19 and 47,681 Americans have died. Some in the health community have expressed concerns that if a state reopens its economy too soon then the spread of the virus could accelerate leading to more hospital admissions and more deaths. Since Georgia borders Alabama, a resurgence in the virus there could adversely impact Alabama as well.
(Original reporting by USA Today contributed to this report.)