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Ltr. from GHDC to Gov. Kemp asking to rescind reopening order

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This is the final letter sent on behalf of members of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus (GHDC) to Governor Kemp asking him to rescind his reopening executive order.

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Ltr. from GHDC to Gov. Kemp asking to rescind reopening order

  1. 1. House of Representatives ROBERT T. TRAMMELL, JR. STANDING COMMITTEES: MINORITY LEADER ETHICS REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 132 COVERDELL LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDING, ROOM 609 GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 128 NORTH MAIN STREET ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30334 INFORMATION AND AUDITS LUTHERSVILLE, GEORGIA 30251 (404) 656-5058 (OFFICE) JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL EMAIL: bob.trammell@house.ga.gov MOTOR VEHICLES RULES WAYS & MEANS Hon. Brian P. Kemp Governor of Georgia Office of the Governor Suite 203, State Capitol 206 Washington Street Atlanta, GA 30334 April 21, 2020 Dear Governor Kemp, We write to request that you immediately rescind your executive order signed yesterday. While navigating the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 unquestionably presents acute decision-making challenges, it is imperative that decisions are made consistent with facts, science, and the best available public health guidance. The decision yesterday belies the facts and situation we confront in Georgia with respect to COVID-19. In addition, under the President’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, Georgia should show a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14 day period before proceeding with the type of decision you announced yesterday. At present, Georgia cannot show such a 14 day downward trajectory. Yesterday’s executive order is best summed up as too much, too soon. Combined with the state’s well documented struggles with testing capacity, this premature executive order puts Georgians at risk and may very well wind up resulting in more prolonged restrictive measures in the future. Beginning on April 3, 2020 at 6 p.m., the following types of businesses ceased operations and closed to the public pursuant to your statewide shelter-in-place Executive Order dated April 2, 2020: gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, live performance venues, operators of amusement rides, body art studios, estheticians, massage therapy, and bars. The closure of these types of businesses reflects the reality that social distancing is difficult, if not impossible, in the basic nature of the operation of these businesses. Consequently, the operation of these businesses poses a greater risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19 than other businesses, which is why they were closed in the first place. Confoundingly, yesterday, a mere 17 days later, you made the announcement that these businesses are now permitted to reopen, prior to the expiration of the statewide shelter-in-place order. Since April 3, Georgia has seen increases in reported positive cases, COVID-19 fatalities, and COVID-19 hospitalizations. On April 3, the Department of Public Health reported that there were 5,831 confirmed positive cases, 184 fatalities, and 1,158 Covid-19 hospitalizations. That data reflected positive cases in 147 of Georgia’s 159 counties. As of noon yesterday, the Department of Public Health reported that there were 18,947 confirmed positive cases, 733 fatalities, and 3,550 Covid-19 hospitalizations. The April 20 data reflected positive cases in 157 Georgia counties. As of noon today, the Department of Public Health has reported that there are 19,881 confirmed positive cases, 799 fatalities, and 3,779 hospitalizations.
  2. 2. While COVID-19 has now spread all over Georgia, unquestionably there are pockets of the state that have experienced more severe outbreaks than the rest of the state. Giving local officials the ability to respond to the on ground, real time facts with respect to community transmission in the form of more restrictive local emergency orders is imperative in moving into a next phase of relaxed restrictions. We therefore urge you to permit local governments to enact more restrictive measures as necessary to protect their communities. Georgia’s inadequate testing capacity has been well documented. We need to have further increased actual testing capacity before we move forward with any step to loosen restrictive measures presently in place. We should also have testing available in all counties before we take such steps. In closing, we share the desire to want to return to life as it was before COVID-19, but we must be clear-eyed and honest about the challenges that lie ahead. Rushing into easing restrictions before it is safe to do so has damaging repercussions for both lives and the economy. As Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Good Morning America yesterday, “unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not gonna happen. So what you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re gonna set yourself back.” Making data-based decisions gives us our best path forward. We therefore ask you to wait until we have a documented, consistent 14 day decline in the number of positive confirmed cases before taking the steps that you announced yesterday to relax restrictions that are working to save lives and slow the spread. We thank you for your consideration of this urgent request, and we remain ready to work with you in any way we can in the fight against COVID-19. Sincerely yours, Rep. Bob Trammell Rep. William Boddie Rep. James Beverly House Minority Leader House Minority Whip House Minority Chair Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick Rep. Erica Thomas Rep. Kimberly Alexander House Minority Chief Deputy Whip House Minority Vice-Chair House Minority Treasurer Rep. Pat Gardner House Minority Secretary [Additional electronic signatures on the following page]
  3. 3. House of Representatives ROBERT T. TRAMMELL, JR. STANDING COMMITTEES: MINORITY LEADER ETHICS REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 132 COVERDELL LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDING, ROOM 609 GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 128 NORTH MAIN STREET ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30334 INFORMATION AND AUDITS LUTHERSVILLE, GEORGIA 30251 (404) 656-5058 (OFFICE) JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL EMAIL: bob.trammell@house.ga.gov MOTOR VEHICLES RULES WAYS & MEANS /s/ Rep. Mary Frances Williams, House District 37 /s/ Rep. David Wilkerson, House District 38 /s/ Rep. Erick Allen, House District 40 /s/ Rep. Michael Smith, House District 41 /s/ Rep. Teri Anulewicz, House District 42 /s/ Rep. Mary Robichaux, House District 48 /s/ Rep. Angelika Kausche, House District 50 /s/ Rep. Josh McLaurin, House District 51 /s/ Rep. Sheila Jones, House District 53 /s/ Rep. Able Mable Thomas, House District 56 /s/ Rep. Park Cannon, House District 58 /s/ Rep. Kim Schofield, House District 60 /s/ Rep. Roger Bruce, House District 61 /s/ Rep. Debra Bazemore, House District 63 /s/ Rep. Derrick Jackson, House District 64 /s/ Rep. Sharon Beasley – Teague, House District 65 /s/ Rep. Valencia Stovall, House District 74 /s/ Rep. Sandra Scott, House District 76 /s/ Rep. Mike Glanton, House District 75 /s/ Rep. Rhonda Burnough, House District 77 /s/ Rep. Demetrius Douglas, House District 78 /s/ Rep. Michael Wilensky, House District 79 /s/ Rep. Matthew Wilson, House District 80 /s/ Rep. Scott Holcomb, House District 81 /s/ Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, House District 82 /s/ Rep. Becky Evans, House District 83 /s/ Rep. Renitta Shannon, House District 84 /s/ Rep. Karla Drenner, House District 85 /s/ Rep. Michele Henson, House District 86 /s/ Rep. Viola Davis, House District 87 /s/ Rep. Bee Nguyen, House District 89 /s/ Rep. Doreen Carter, House District 92 /s/ Rep. Karen Bennett, House District 94 /s/ Rep. Beth Moore, House District 95 /s/ Rep. Pedro Marin, House District 96 /s/ Rep. Brenda Lopez, House District 99 /s/ Rep. Dewey McClain, House District 100
  4. 4. /s/ Rep. Sam Park, House District 101 /s/ Rep. Gregg Kennard, House District 102 /s/ Rep. Donna McLeod, House District 105 /s/ Rep. Shelly Hutchinson, House District 107 /s/ Rep. Jasmine Clark, House District 108 /s/ Rep. Pam Dickerson, House District 113 /s/ Rep. Spencer Frye, House District 118 /s/ Rep. Wayne Howard, House District 124 /s/ Rep. Sheila Nelson, House District 125 /s/ Rep. Gloria Frazier, House District 126 /s/ Rep. Calvin Smyre, House District 135 /s/ Rep. Carolyn Hugley, House District 136 /s/ Rep. Debbie Buckner, House District 137 /s/ Rep. CaMia Hopson, House District 153 /s/ Rep. Winfred Dukes, House District 154 /s/ Rep. Craig Gordon, House District 163 /s/ Rep. Al Williams, House District 168

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