Mayors react to Kemp’s decision to allow businesses to reopen

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Brian Kemp (File)

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Mayors across Middle Georgia are reacting to Governor Kemp’s decision to allow some businesses to reopen Friday.

Mayors say it’s too soon and puts people at risk of catching COVID-19.

“Just because they say you can open, doesn’t mean you have to and just because you can go, doesn’t mean you should,” Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert said.

“What does this mean to go back to business as normal when we’re not ready,” Milledgeville Mayor Mary Copelan said.

“I think it is too soon, but if people go out there and do it in a common sense responsible way it may prove to be OK. It’s concerning because this virus is real,” Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms said.

Reichert says it’s unclear if we’ve even hit our peak.

“Some say we are approaching our peak for demand of medical services others say we’re just passed the peak. I just don’t know,” Reichert said.

Warner Robins mayor Randy Toms says while the state opens up, he’s doing what he can to keep people safe, which includes canceling the Independence Day celebrations.

“There’s planning that takes months, but I also think it’s way too early in the emotional state of humans to congregate in 10,000 people. I don’t feel good about it and putting people in that kind of environment,” Toms said.

Milledgeville mayor Mary Copelan says Baldwin County is a hot spot as numbers of confirmed cases rise in her area and at Central State Hospital. She’s hoping businesses and people take precautions.

“My heart is set on them doing the right thing and do it in phases and not open it completely. Let 10 in and 10 out. That’s what I’m hoping we do here in Milledgeville,” Copelan said.

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottom displayed her concerns about Kemp’s decision in an interview with CNN. She mentioned Macon in the interview.

“Where are our hot spots? They’re in places like Bibb County, near Macon that didn’t shut down,” Bottoms said.

Mayor Reichert responded to her comments, saying he believes she misspoke.

“Unless she knows something that I don’t about Macon being a hot spot, I don’t know if she’s referring to Macon being a hot spot because we have regional hospitals here and are treating COVID patients from all over,” Reichert said.

Mayors say they’re asking people to continue to wash your hands, keep a six foot distance, and to not go out unless you need to.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.