A South Carolina mayor is warning residents to refrain from crossing the Georgia line as Gov. Brian Kemp (R) loosens restrictions in the Peach State.
“I’m telling my folks, don’t go to Georgia,” Gifford Mayor Horney Mitchell said, according to the Daily Beast. “What I tell them is stay home and stay safe. Do not cross the Georgia line.”
Mitchell said that despite Kemp loosening restrictions, Georgia does not have a handle on the virus yet.
“And we are that close to Georgia, some of our folks will travel there and may retract something back this way. So I’m very scared about that,” he said, encompassing the views of other South Carolina mayors whose towns sit close to the state line.
“It is very scary,” Furman Mayor Francenia Ellis said, according to the Daily Beast. “Because I do believe that we still need to be more cautious about this thing.”
Hampton Mayor Jimmy Bilka did not necessarily feel the same way:
I don’t like to criticize another politician or another mayor or council member or whatever. You have to do what you think is best for your people and their best interests. I get criticized enough. I’m not going to go criticize a mayor or town council members for a decision they made to open a business up or whatever.
The concern comes as Georgia aggressively moves into the first phase of reopening, allowing salons, barbershops, body art studios, and fitness centers to open up, as long as they abide by Minimum Basic Operations. Lines reportedly “started early” last Friday as some of the businesses began to open their doors, giving residents some semblance of normalcy:
— John Spink (@johnjspink) April 24, 2020
Restaurants in Georgia were also able to resume limited dine-in services this week but are required to abide by 39 guidelines laid out by Kemp. Those include limiting the number of patrons in the restaurant to no more than 10 per 500 square feet, banning salad bars and self-serve areas, and requiring employees to wear face coverings.
Kemp’s decisions drew criticism from President Trump, who disagreed with the decision.
“I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with what he is doing,” Trump said.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has taken a more cautious approach to reopening and extended the state of emergency until May 12:
Gov says that people need to stay at home as much as you can, but the businesses that are now open-they are eligible for people to visit without violating the Home or Work order
Encourages that people go only where it’s necessary to go. @wis10
— Miranda Parnell WIS (@miranda_parnell) April 27, 2020
He is also allowing some retail stores to reopen, as well as public beach access points.