Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has issued an executive order that reopens the state’s beaches, in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, sparking backlash.
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“The Governor’s Executive Order suspends the enforcement of any local ordinance or order adopted or issued since March 1, 2020, that relates to COVID-19,” Josh Hildebrandt, director of public and governmental affairs for DNR, said in a statement, according to The Hill. “This Executive Order thus lifted any local ordinances or orders that had closed or restricted access to Georgia beaches.
“People who voluntarily leave their shelters to go to our beaches can only do so for the purpose of outdoor exercise,” he continued.
State government still strongly encourages everyone to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Tybee Island mayor Shirley Sessions is vehemently opposed to the Governor’s decision and explained why in a public statement.
“As the Pentagon ordered 100,000 body bags to store the corpses of Americans killed by the Coronavirus, Governor Brian Kemp dictated that Georgia beaches must reopen, and declared any decision makers who refused to follow these orders would face prison and/or fines,” she wrote. “While the beaches have to reopen under the Governor’s order, Tybee will not have beach access and parking lots will remain closed until further notice. It should also be noted that Tybee currently is not properly staffed with Emergency Medical Services and there are no life guards in place.”