Public health officials have warned that despite falling transmission rates, highly contagious variants of the disease could spur another spike in cases. They’ve encouraged Georgians to remain vigilant, sign up for vaccines, continue to wear masks and stay socially distanced.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution examination of state records found Kemp ranked business concerns ahead of public health imperatives and that his aides, not public health officials, often determined strategy to contain the virus and dictated public messaging.
Kemp has made few substantive changes in recent months to ongoing emergency orders that include a lengthy list of safety guidelines for many businesses to remain open. Though the rules are rarely enforced, they establish protocol such as social-distancing requirements and capacity limits.
Unlike many other states, Georgia never adopted a statewide mask mandate, though after a legal feud with the city of Atlanta the state permitted local governments to institute face-covering requirements.
The governor plans to relax the limits a week after allowing all Georgia adults to begin receiving the vaccines, a dramatic expansion of eligibility in a state still facing challenges distributing the lifesaving doses.
- SOUTH CAROLINA: The governor of has opened COVID-19 vaccination to all of the state’s residents ages 16 and up, saying the state could begin scheduling appointments this week and receive the vaccine starting March 31.
- TEXAS: A state judge is allowing the City of Austin to continue to require face coverings in local businesses weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott ended a statewide mask mandate and other COVID-19 safety measures.
- ARIZONA: Health officials announced an outdoor state-run COVID-19 mass vaccination site in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler will be replaced April 5 by a drive-thru operation inside a large business warehouse in Mesa in advance of approaching hot weather.
- ALASKA: The Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported the state had 22,300 fewer jobs last month than it did in February 2020, citing an ongoing economic toll from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Associated Press