Eleven metro Atlanta chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are calling on people to "defy the governor" and continue to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday that businesses including salons, gyms, nail parlors and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen Friday and restaurants and theaters can reopen Monday.
Kemp’s move has not been without controversy. Pres. Donald Trump said he disagreed with Kemp’s decision to reopen Georgia’s economy so early. Georgia Democrats have called on Kemp to rescind the order.
On Thursday, the Atlanta NAACP posted a call on social media for a "black out, sick out" starting April 24.
"The reckless and unilateral decision of Governor Brian Kemp places at risk communities in direct danger of COVID-19 or coronavirus," officials wrote. "The NCAAP is calling on citizens to push back on Brian Kemp."
In a press release Thursday, NAACP officials said that returning to pre-COVID-19 practices too soon could widen the pandemic.
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"Data shows that black and other non-white Americans have a higher per capita infection rate as well as higher resultant death rate," officials wrote. "The overall death rate in Georgia is about 4 % while the death rate of black Covid-19 patients is more than 9%."
Officials are asking for more free testing facilities, PPE, contact testing and more precautions -- as well as a withdrawal of Gov. Brian Kemp's April 20 executive order.
Kemp defended his decision to reopen parts of the economy in a series of Tweets.
"Given the favorable data trends, enhanced testing through Augusta State University and advice of state healthcare leaders, we are taking another measured step forward. We remain focused on protecting lives -- and livelihoods -- in every part of Georgia," Kemp wrote.
At least three protests are scheduled for tomorrow about the governor's decision to reopen. A rally hosted by the Concerned Black Clergy will take place at Liberty Square. A drive-by protest in front of the governor's mansion is planned for 11 a.m.
Another group in favor of Kemp's decision also announced plans to rally at the state Capitol Friday. The group, Reopen GA, plans to gather at noon and is encouraging demonstrators to circle outside the gold dome.
“We are residents of Georgia that stand for The Constitution and demand our officials Reopen GA no later than May 1st, 2020,” the group wrote on Facebook. “We are losing our small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. The shutdown is not warranted, nor sustainable for our area. The vulnerable can be isolated or protected in other ways, without sacrificing our entire state economy.”
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