Georgia, a southern state with a strong Republican presence, begins its “reopening” on Friday after three weeks of confinement. Its governor, Brian Kemp, a staunch ally of Donald Trump, was reluctant to implement the confinement order and has now accelerated the return to normal.
From now on, neighbors across the state will be able to go to the gym, to the hairdresser, to get their nails done or to the bowling alley, one of their favorite distractions. Starting Monday, restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment businesses will open. Kemp has insisted that this will be done with caution and with the recommendations of keeping the distance between people, taking the temperature of the workers and extreme hygiene and disinfection measures in the establishments.
For many public health experts, this is the wrong decision. Georgia is, after Louisiana, the Southeast U.S. state most affected by the coronavirus crisis, with more than 800 deaths. The governors of other states in the country, such as Tennessee, Ohio and Colorado, have said they will not extend the containment orders that expire at the end of next week. Texas or Florida also have combative governors who have been in favor of speeding up the recovery. But the case of Georgia, the only one that has brought forward the end of the restrictions, is the most significant. Above all, because it has provoked a confrontation with Trump.
The US president has taken a turn in the last two days in his intention to reactivate the country – with millions of new unemployed every week – as quickly as possible. At the end of last month he said the US would be “on the move” on April 12 – which proved impossible – and last week he encouraged conservative groups to protest in the streets against the restrictions.