SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – President Donald Trump said he “disagrees” with Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to allow specific businesses to reopen on Friday — describing the facilities as a “violation” of the White House’s phase one guidelines.
“I told the Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for incredible people of Georgia. They’re incredible people,” Trump said.
The president said he wants people to listen to their governors, but Trump and other White House officials were critical of Kemp’s directive to allow businesses like gyms, hair salons, bowling alley’s, and tattoo shops to reopen on Friday. The governor’s plan will also allow restaurants and movie theaters to open on Monday, April 27; followed by bars and clubs at the end of the month. Public health officials warned the move could have serious consequences.
“If I were advising the governor I would tell him that he should be careful and I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go because there is a danger of a rebound,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stated.
Kemp posted a statement on social media shortly after the comments from the White House stating: “Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials. We will continue with this approach to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of all Georgians.”
Kemp, in response to the president’s criticism, said that while he appreciates Trump’s insight he plans to “continue with this approach.”
“Just like the thousands of businesses currently operating throughout Georgia, I am confident that business owners who decide to reopen will adhere to Minimum Basic Operations, which prioritize the health and well-being of employees and customers,” Kemp said.
Trump said Kemp should “do what he thinks is right,” but added he would step in and do something if he thought state governors were acting “totally out of line.”
“We are on track to meet the gating criteria for phase one,” the governor said in a press conference Monday.
That gating criteria from the Trump Administration includes a downward trajectory of documented coronavirus cases in a 14-day period — or a downward trajectory in the number of positive cases as compared to total tests over two weeks.
Though Georgia has achieved neither, President Donald Trump initially said he supports Kemp’s decision.
“He’s a very capable he knows what he’s doing, he’s done a good job as governor, Georgia,” the president said.
Twenty-four hours later Trump rescinded his approval.
On Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 1,242 new infections over a 24-hour period. This is the highest single-day tally in two weeks for the state.
In addition, 94 people died, doubling the Peach State’s previous one-day record.
By midday on Wednesday, Georgia had more than 20,700 cases statewide — that’s a 4.3 % increase in total cases from Tuesday.
Over the past two weeks, the rate of positive tests has remained above 22% and fewer than 1% of the state’s population has been tested.
Kemp said he’s working with the University System of Georgia to change that.
“As many of you know Augusta University helped launched a telemedicine app as part of their comprehensive plan to screen, test and treat Georgia patients through an algorithm designed by medical experts through the Medical College of Georgia,” he said Monday.
A chart on the state’s website shows a downward trend for the last six days.
The governor’s office believes Georgia is on a path to meet the 14-day threshold by May 1, though it’s throwing open doors to businesses well before they really know.