There are serious concerns about the decision of Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp to reopen businesses as of Friday, April 24th.
Here are some among the many concerns:
- What are the protections for workers at barbershops, gyms, nail salons? Will PPE be mandatory, will they be provided by the state?
- Will workers and customers at such establishments be able to get free testing?
- Will the state expand medicare to pay for healthcare costs incurred by people who catch the virus?
- Will the state provide secure mechanisms for contact tracing?
- Will the state provide expanded minimum wage guarantees to employees putting themselves at risk?
- Will the state provide for a moratorium on evictions and actions against those businesses who choose not to reopen?
- Will mayors choose morals above profits to protect their citizenry?
By now, there have been a lot of analyses of appropriate ways to reopen economies. For example, Austria is investigating a rollback in it’s lockdown but provides more social support and has reported 1/3 the deaths as the state of Georgia. Masks are required in public spaces. Georgia has also not shown the sustained downward trajectory of cases. Most alarmingly, Georgia, as many other areas, has tremendous inequality in healthcare access according to recent figures from the Georgia Department of Health, more than 50% of the deaths occur amongst African Americans. Black people account for just over 30% of the residents of the state.
I started a petition to ask for more accountability. If you’re a resident of the state, please ask questions via the governor’s constituent services site. If you live in Atlanta or Decatur, or Albany, you can express support for your elected officials to enact morally responsible policies. GoFundMe campaigns or other mutual aid might be effective in keeping your favorite local business afloat while safe practices are enacted.
Please stay safe.