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You want to get out of the house? Will you bet your life on it?
In the wake of the governor's decision to allow many non-essential Georgia businesses to re-open April 24, what is a smart person to do?
Yesterday afternoon (4/20), Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that he is ready for the state to get back to work, allowing certain businesses to reopen as early as Friday, April 24. The date is not quite Easter weekend, but it’s not too far after. Kemp has said that non-essential businesses such as bowling alleys, tattoo shops, nail salons, barber shops, and gyms and work-out places, and massage parlors may be open for business. Restaurants will be allowed to re-open Monday, April 27.
The question is, will you go? With Georgia, as of five days ago, ranked 46th nationally and behind all neighboring states in COVID-19 testing, is it safe to go out? With Georgia ranked fifth, at 5.4%, as of this morning among the states with the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, is it safe to go out?
Georgians are being told by their governor that it is. Georgians are being told by a man who, just over two weeks ago, admitted he didn’t know until that day that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 could spread the disease, that it is safe to go out. Sure, he’s said that we should wear face masks, practice social distancing, wash our hands and not touch our face, but anyone who has been out over the last four weeks knows that, while you may do your part, others do not. And let’s look at the businesses that he is allowing to reopen this week, not exactly places where participants are able to maintain a distance of six feet apart.
With the governor’s decision, even those who do choose to continue self-quarantine, self-isolate, whatever you may call what you’ve been practicing for the last four to five weeks to keep yourself healthy — and alive — when you do have to go out for essentials — food, medications, beer and wine — you will now have a greater chance of co-mingling with someone who couldn’t wait a little longer to get a haircut, a new tattoo, or workout with other sweaty, heavy-breathing people who think such a regimen is the only way to stay “fit.”
And what if you are an employee at one of the businesses the governor has allowed to re-open, yet you don’t feel its safe to go back to work? Do you risk being fired? Do you hope you have an understanding boss? Or, do you believe the man who pointed a shotgun as a warning at a kid wanting to date his daughter in a campaign ad that it’s safe to do so?
No one can answer the question for you. You have to decide for yourself. The governor is following guidelines set forth by “the White House,” and, as he noted — though he didn’t identify the “we” he referred to — “we appreciate the leadership and share in the president’s desire to re-open the economy and get Americans back to work.” For those of us at Creative Loafing, we look to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is guided by science and statistics, before deciding whether it’s time to “re-open the economy,” to engage in such non-essential activity as the governor has allowed to re-open, and, to decide what is best for us, our families and our friends.