Georgia's fake Gov. Brian Kemp declared war on the public health of his constituents Monday when he announced that he was reopening certain businesses in the state effective April 24, which is Friday. It's also months too soon. The White House's model, from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, states that Georgia hit its projected “peak" for daily deaths April 7, less than a week after Kemp realized COVID-19 was super contagious. Hooray! Unfortunately, the model still predicts that dozens of people will die every day from the coronavirus in the coming week, and if social distancing measures are relaxed before June 15, the virus will — unlike the South — rise again.

Kemp, whose brain must be frolicking on a Florida beach somewhere, specifically said he's reopening the doors of fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair and nail salons, and massage therapy businesses. This is not just bad governance. It's criminally negligent homicide.


I miss the gym, but let's get real: They are gross, sweat factories. And unless you're Inspector Gadget, it's physically impossible to keep six feet away from someone while cutting their hair, painting their toenails, or giving them a massage. Theaters and restaurants will "be allowed" to open on Monday, April 27, and we should stress that these businesses will either open at great risk to the public and their employees or face bankruptcy. The governor isn't doing businesses a favor when he prematurely lifts restrictions and mandated closures. If people (sensibly) refuse to patronize your establishment because they don't want to die, that's just the invisible hand filing Chapter 11. This is why only spoiled brats demand that the economy “reopen" when it's not safe.

This also is a body blow against low-wage workers, who likely can't continue receiving unemployment benefits if they willingly choose not to work. Kemp is putting the wait staff of a restaurant in the position of either starving or contracting a highly infectious and physically debilitating illness. The coronavirus incapacitated CNN's Brooke Baldwin for two weeks, and she was one of the lucky ones. Fuddrucker's might send your sick ass a half-off coupon for a cheeseburger, but you ain't getting paid sick leave.

Stacey Abrams, the Democrat who should've been elected governor if Kemp hadn't actively suppressed the vote, tweeted out receipts for all the reasons Georgia's not ready to safely reopen businesses. She correctly described Kemp as “dangerously incompetent." If Abrams was justly the governor right now, she'd listen to medical experts and prioritize Georgians' health over Donald Trump's re-election campaign. Trump wants to give Republican governors enough rope to hang themselves, while distancing himself from the inevitably lethal fallout. Meanwhile, he'll continue painting responsible Democratic governors as communist despots who want hardworking Americans to become dependent upon government handouts and functioning lungs.

During his press conference yesterday, Kemp claimed he didn't “give a damn about politics right now" when making an obviously political calculation. The coronavirus hit Albany, Georgia, “like a bomb." It was one of the state's “hot spots." Its population is 74 percent black. Black Georgians are 31 percent of the population but make up 56 percent of COVID-19 fatalities. They are also more likely to represent the workers Kemp has irresponsibly called back to their jobs. As secretary of state, Kemp purged black people from the voter rolls. Now his rank incompetence or plain-old malicious negligence is going to purge them from existence.

Kemp's order also supersedes any local ordinances, so sensible cities can't prevent the Touchy Feely Massage Parlor from reopening. Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson denounced Kemp's actions as “premature" and “irresponsible." Rushing to reopen "places the lives of Savannahians at risk."

JOHNSON: The science has been clear that expanded and comprehensive testing, combined with decelerated infections rates and reduced hospitalizations, are the prerequisites to any phased re-openings or relaxation of emergency order. It is not clear to me that all of these boxes have been checked.

I have friends and family in Georgia, and I'm concerned for their safety. Someone has to be, because the governor sure as hell isn't.

Chef Mashama Bailey's Savannah www.youtube.com

[CNN / The Daily Beast]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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