WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump (pix) issued rare criticism of a Republican state governor Wednesday, expressing strong disagreement with Georgia’s decision to reopen small businesses such as tattoo parlors and nail salons.
Trump’s administration last week laid out gradual plans to get America back to work while observing health guidelines as much as possible to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
But Brian Kemp, governor of the southern state of Georgia, and Florida’s Ron DeSantis, both Republicans like Trump, have announced more aggressive easing of restrictions.
Kemp said that from Friday he is allowing gyms, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, barbershops, nail salons and other small firms to reopen.
At his daily briefing, Trump told reporters “it’s too soon” for those businesses to resume operations, but Kemp separately said he is not just “throwing the keys back” for them to operate without guidelines.
“I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase One guidelines” for reopening issued last week.
There must be 14 days of declining infection numbers before a reopening, the government said.
“I respect him and I will let him make his decision. Would I do that? No. I’d keep them (closed) a little bit longer. I want to protect people’s lives,“ Trump said.
Separately, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she wanted to reopen “so our people can go back to work” and had offered the city as a “control group” for ending Nevada’s state lockdown.
“I did offer, it was turned down,“ she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
With more than 4,100 infections, Nevada’s Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak said: “We are clearly not ready to open.”
“I will not allow the citizens of Nevada to be used as a control group, as a placebo. I certainly will not allow that,“ he told Cooper.
At the White House press conference, the country’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said that if he were advising the Georgia governor, “I would tell him that he should be careful. And I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go.”
Just before that press conference, and after he had spoken with Trump, Kemp told Fox 5 Atlanta that his decision was based upon data and that “trends are going in the right direction.”
He said it will be a “measured approach” and businesses resuming trade will have to follow “strict guidelines.”
“I think one of the things that’s gotten out of control on the national level is people think we’re throwing the keys back to these businesses and it’s going to be business as usual, and it’s not,“ Kemp told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Under his plan, restaurants will be able to resume dine-in service from Monday. — AFP