Georgia’s NAACP branches are calling on community leaders and the public to defy Gov. Brian Kemp’s order to begin incrementally reopening businesses across the state on Friday, April 24.
Kemp issued an executive order on Monday, April 20, to reopen hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, spas, fitness centers and bowling alleys on April 24. Dine-in restaurants, movie theaters and private clubs will reopen on April 27. Bars, nightclubs, live performance venues will remain closed.
The NAACP said Georgia suffered its highest daily death toll for Covid-19 to date on the same day Kemp issued the April 20 executive order that rescinded his order of March 14.
The NAACP branches said in a statement:
According to White House guidelines found at whitehouse.gov/openingamerica, the criteria to be satisfied before executing a phased comeback specify either a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14 day period, or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period. The governor cited neither condition is his order nor neither condition exists in Georgia to date. The governor further warned counties and cities not to impede his order.
Data posted daily on the Georgia Department of Health web site confirm that Covid-19 diagnoses are expanding. The undersigned collaboration of Georgia NAACP branches call upon the leaders of Georgia counties and cities to urge their citizens and businesses to continue to observe the shelter-in-place, social distancing and disinfecting measures issued by these counties and cities prior to the Governor’s March 14 order. Kemp’s order supersedes their respective resolutions, ordinances and directives. Local measures have likely saved lives and infectious disease experts warn that returning to pre-Covid-19 practices too soon could lead to a widening of the pandemic.
Data shows that black and other non-white Americans have a higher per capita infection rate as well as higher resultant death rate. The overall death rate in Georgia is about 4 % while the death rate of black Covid-19 patients is more than 9%. We collectively demand more free testing facilities, protective personal equipment (PPE), outreach messaging and rigorous contact testing for the communities we serve and proper tracking of citizens so that we can see a clear path to recovery.
We call upon our local political leaders to continue to work on behalf of all Georgia citizens, and especially its most vulnerable citizens who need and deserve reparative outreach and service. Free testing and treatment must be a state initiative that is necessary because of Georgia’s refusal of Medicaid expansion. We collectively demand a withdrawal of Governor Brian Kemp’s April 20, 2020 executive order. Georgia should maintain sheltering-in-place guidelines until data otherwise indicate that it is safe to begin resuming daily activities under recommendations commensurate with pandemic conditions. For now, STAY AT HOME if possible and practical.
NAACP Atlanta – Richard Rose, President
Carroll County NAACP – James Stocks, President
Clayton NAACP – Synamon Baldwin, President
Cobb County NAACP – Jeriene Grimes, President
DeKalb County NAACP – Teresa Hardy, President
Gwinnett County NAACP – Penny Poole, President
Henry County NAACP – Vivian Thomas, President
Newton County NAACP – Gwen Cattledge, President
Rockdale County NAACP – Thomas Brantley, President
Troup County NAACP – Morris Tatum, President
West Metro NAACP – Joy Bates, President