Members of state coronavirus task force not notified of decision to start reopening state

ATLANTA — At least three members of Gov. Brian Kemp’s coronavirus task force say they were not told of his plans to reopen parts of Georgia’s economy until he announced it Monday afternoon.

Now, one of those task force members told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot that she is threatening to quit unless she gets some answers.

The governor created his coronavirus task force in February and since then, has created five task force committees to look at everything from economic impact to emergency preparedness to the homeless.

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But some said they didn’t get a heads up about yesterday’s announcement.

“When I received this news, the first response I had were tears,” Dr. Bernice King said.

King took to social media to express her displeasure at not knowing Kemp’s plan to partially reopen Georgia before he announced it.


She said that's because he asked her to chair the community outreach committee of his own coronavirus task force.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms chairs another committee on that task force. Monday night, she told Channel 2 anchor Jovita Moore that she wasn’t informed as well -- either as the mayor or as a task force member.

“I didn’t know it was coming and obviously, the governor is the governor and he certainly has the prerogative to make orders that he deems appropriate, but he did not consult me,” Bottoms said.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler is a task force member, too. He told Elliot hat he was not informed of the governor’s decision, but he said that was OK with him given the speed with which things are happening.

“No I didn’t know about it. But right now, there’s a lot of things the governor doesn’t know what we’re doing either because we’re always trying to get the job done going as some say at 500 miles an hour with our hair on fire,” Butler said.

King said she wants some answers from the governor or she might resign from that task force altogether.

“His answers regarding those concerns will determine if I will continue to serve on this committee or if I find an alternate way to serve the people of Georgia during this crisis,” King said.

In a statement, the governor’s office said Kemp “welcomes guidance from members of the coronavirus task force and considers their expertise in his decision making to protect the health, well-being and safety of Georgian.”