Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp slammed Atlanta mayor’s decision to roll back the city’s reopening to Phase 1, calling it “confusing” and “legally unenforceable,” his office said Friday.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the roll back on Friday, citing an alarming increase in coronavirus cases.
“Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences,” said Bottoms, who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Phase 1 includes an order for residents to stay home except for essential trips. The city was in Phase 2 of reopening. Earlier this week the mayor, a Democrat, mandated people within the city limits wear a face covering.
Georgia added a record 4,484 new coronavirus case reports in one day, the state’s department of public heath said Friday.
But the governor’s office said the mayor’s plan is not “legally enforceable” because Kemp, a Republican, signed an executive order that prohibits local action from being more prohibitive than the state’s requirements.
“Once again, if the mayor actually wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing state restrictions, which she has failed to do. We ask citizens and businesses alike to comply with the terms of the governor’s order, which was crafted in conjunction with state public health officials. These common-sense measures will help protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians,” Kemp’s office said in a statement.
One of Atlanta’s Phase 1 guidelines is for restaurants and retail operations to have to-go or curbside pickup only.
Large convention center to be set up for patients
State officials plan to reactivate a makeshift overflow hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta due to a rising trend of cases, the governor’s office said.
The move comes as the state “is negotiating new solutions to increase its own capacity to process specimens, and we will provide more details as those plans are finalized.
The state will use its assets, hospital beds and medical equipment, and “plans to leverage a new contract for enhanced bed capacity with a metro-Atlanta area hospital,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
“In addition to the increased bed capacity developed in-house at hospitals in recent months, this new contract is expected to add nearly 100 med-surg and ICU beds to existing infrastructure, coupled with ‘standby’ beds at GWCC should additional needs arise,” the governor’s office said.
The total number of coronavirus hospitalizations has been 12,937 and there have been 2,565 admissions to intensive care units, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The state began reopening in late April. The number of cases reported each day began to rise again in early May.