Filipinos in Georgia express concerns with state’s plans to reopen non-essential businesses

ATLANTA, GA — Filipinos in Georgia know it would be awhile before they could gather like this again.

And some of them think their governor seems to be in a hurry to get back to business despite coronavirus concerns.

Governor Brian Kemp announced that starting Friday, April 24, some non-essential businesses can reopen including — gyms, tattoo places, barbers, as well as hair and nail salons.

“How can you socially distance yourself from someone cutting your hair with, or doing a massage, or doing a tattoo. So it didn’t make sense,” said John Panlilio.

President Trump on Wednesday criticized the Republican governor’s move.

“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 1 guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia.”

Trump said the administration has established benchmarks that states should clear before they begin the reopening process — 14 days of declining new infections, and 14 days declining COVID-like syndromic cases.

As of Thursday, cases in Georgia had risen to over 21,000 — up 410 from the previous day with 872 deaths.

“First off, we don’t have enough testing, there’s not enough test kits to go around. So you don’t know who’s asymptomatic and you don’t know who has the virus. And contagion is a serious issue. Like Governor Cuomo said, this illness is death.” said Joan Mamawal-Desrochers.

For his part – Kemp said his decision was based on data — with the understanding that those businesses would abide by strict guidelines.

“Some people and some business owners are maybe pressing him to open, so if they have the courage to open and expose themselves, that is their choice, but what are the externalities of this policy impacting people’s choice to the lives of other people who had been following rules all this time.”

On Monday, April 27, in Georgia, movie theaters will be allowed to reopen, and restaurants can return to limited dine-in service.

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