(WTVM) - It’s been a little more than two weeks since Georgia Governor Brian Kemp bravely stepped up to the state capitol microphone to relax the state’s economic shutdown.
He allowed hair salons and bowling alleys among other businesses to re-open.
Even though the rates of coronavirus infection, hospitalizations and death were not falling, it was a very risky move.
Governor Kemp got plenty of bad press for it. Kemp wasn’t the only governor to ease restrictions back then, but the media was convinced his decision would backfire. It was almost like his critics couldn’t wait for it to backfire.
One headline in Vanity Fair screamed that Kemp was “the front-runner for the Country’s Dumbest Governor,” but even President Trump’s criticism did not deter him.
Governor Kemp knew he had to balance public health with the negative effects of a prolonged shutdown on family, finances and future life plans. Unemployment in Georgia had increased to one of the highest rates in the country.
Now with the benefit of hindsight, we can review Kemp’s decision. Two elements of the Governor’s plan to ease restrictions have proven to be exactly correct.
The first element of his plan was to continue strict shelter-in-place orders for those 65 and older and those with underlying medical conditions. Those citizens count for more than half of the deaths in Georgia from COVID-19.
We know the elderly are the most vulnerable. Keeping them safe, while liberating other demographics, makes perfect sense.
The second element of Governor Kemp’s plan was another bit of common sense: he acknowledged that both businesses and consumers have a vested interest in making smart decisions about what's best for their health, such as not going somewhere that's doing a poor job of social distancing or hygiene.
In other words, the governor trusts us to be responsible.
Could there be a future spike in COVID-19 cases? Yes. Will we be able to handle it? The governor says yes.
Governor Kemp’s decision to unleash the state’s small business economy two weeks ago was widely panned in the media and some scientists said it was simply too risky.
Now that his plan seems to be working, the only thing we can hear are crickets.
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