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Georgia's Governor Reopens Beaches Despite Shelter-In-Place Order
Just one day after issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp ordered that beaches remain open so that residents could exercise if needed along the shores.
Several local communities, including popular tourist area Tybee Island, closed down their beach areas weeks ago to help control the spread of COVID-19. However, those measures were overturned by the governor. While beach chairs and umbrellas are prohibited under the order, visitors can remain on the beach as long as they maintain proper social distancing rules.
“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,” said Josh Hildebrandt, director of public and governmental affairs for DNR. “This Executive Order thus lifted any local ordinances or orders that had closed or restricted access to Georgia beaches.”
Local officials are upset and are criticizing the governor for his decision. Many, including Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions, plan to seek legal action to reverse the governor’s latest order.
“As the Pentagon ordered 100,000 body bags to store the corpses of Americans killed by the coronavirus, Gov. 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,” Sessions said in a statement. “Tybee City Council and I are devastated by the sudden directives and do not support his decisions.”
This decision also comes days after the governor admitted to not knowing that people who were asymptomatic could spread the virus.