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An 'Abrupt Shift in Tone' for Trump on Reopening

President says he 'disagrees strongly' with Georgia's plan
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2020 2:40 AM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2020 6:35 AM CDT
An 'Abrupt Shift in Tone' for Trump on Reopening
Georgia Gob. Brian Kemp greets President Donald Trump as he arrives at Dobbins AFB on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Marietta, Ga.   (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

(Newser) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is allowing certain nonessential businesses to reopen Friday, albeit with restrictions, and some people aren't happy with the plan—including, apparently, the president. "I want him to do what he thinks is right," President Trump said at Wednesday's press briefing. "But I disagree with him on what he's doing. ... I think (opening) spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in phase one ... it's just too soon." Kemp is also allowing elective medical procedures to resume as of Friday, and will allow restaurants to offer limited in-restaurant dining starting Monday. Trump said he told Kemp he "disagreed strongly" with the plan. More on Georgia and Kemp's response, plus what some other states are planning, below:

  • Kemp's response: The governor tweeted Wednesday that while he appreciates Trump's "bold leadership and insight during these difficult times and the framework provided by the White House to safely move states forward," he won't be amending the plan for Friday. "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," he continued. "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."

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  • A shift for Trump: The president has been vocal about his desire for the country to reopen, and the AP calls his comments on Kemp's plan "an abrupt shift in tone." The governors taking steps to lift stay-at-home orders are so far mostly Republican, like Kemp.
  • About "phase one": The White House earlier this month issued a 3-phase plan for states seeking to ease restrictions, but it calls for testing capacity in those states to be high and for coronavirus cases to be on the decline. Some of Georgia's mayors, health experts, and others say the state has not yet taken the steps outlined by the federal guidelines in order to safely reopen. It is reportedly struggling, for example, to increase testing and contact tracing, though officials say both are in the process of ramping up.
  • Other states reopening: The AP has a list here. It includes Montana, where churches have been cleared to start holding services again and schools will be allowed to reopen next month, plus Georgia and 10 other states making the biggest moves toward reopening. In the "more gradual" column are 18 states where limited reopenings are starting to be allowed. Then there are the five states that never did issue a stay-home order—and the 15 that are showing no signs of reopening any time soon.
  • Las Vegas: Though Nevada is one of those aforementioned 15, the mayor of Las Vegas suggested her city could serve as a sort of test case for reopening nonessential businesses including casinos. The AP reports her comments are being called "reckless" and an "embarrassment."
(As Trump moves from trying to convince the nation to hunker down to trying to convince the nation to go back out and reinvigorate the economy, will people be too scared to do it?)

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