‘This is uncharted territory.’ Gov. Kemp answers questions about reopening Georgia businesses

Governor Brian Kemp discussed what he called a difficult decision to reopen some businesses in Georgia during a news conference Monday.

GEORGIA — Governor Brian Kemp discussed what he called a difficult decision to reopen some businesses in Georgia during a news conference Monday.

“This is uncharted territory," Kemp said of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.

Here’s what Kemp said during the news conference on Monday:

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  • Kemp encouraged anyone with symptoms of coronavirus to take advantage of expanded testing in Georgia.
  • Kemp encourages people with symptoms to call 706-721-1852 to try to schedule a test near one of the designated testing sites near your home.
  • Kemp says we have tests, physicians, sites and bandwidth, and says now they need all Georgians to participate in using new Augusta University COVID-19 assessment app, which you can visit by clicking here.
  • Kemp said the state only received 12 complaints Sunday about large gatherings and police had to intervene twice.
  • Kemp says that people who are medically-fragile in Georgia should shelter in place until May 13.
  • Kemp talked about how these are unprecedented times, and a woman who reopened her business was about to lose her car if she didn’t.

“We cannot continue this way economically. We are looking at depression-like unemployment," Kemp said Monday. “I simply gave people the opportunity to reopen who literally were on the verge of losing everything they’ve got. These are tough decisions. It wasn’t a mandate. They don’t have to do it but they have the opportunity."

Georgia restaurants have been allowed to continue carryout and delivery orders, but starting today, dining rooms can reopen.

The statewide shelter in place order is currently set to end on April 30.

“Bars, nightclubs, operators of amusement park rides, and live performance venues will remain closed, and the shelter in place order remains in effect through April 30, 2020. Medically fragile and elderly Georgians must continue to shelter in place at least through May 13, and as we assess the situation, we will continue to provide updates,” Kemp said.

“Over the weekend, the Department of Public Safety was on call to respond to complaints regarding compliance with the executive orders for specific businesses reopening. On Saturday, none of our nine Georgia State Patrol command centers reported any sustained complaints of non-compliance. On Sunday, Georgia State Patrol received twelve calls with only two sustained complaints, both involving large gatherings. Officers used those opportunities to raise awareness about social distancing rules – as they have been doing for weeks now – and both groups voluntarily dispersed,” Kemp said.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spoke one-on-one with Kemp after the news conference. Kemp dismissed criticism of his reopening plan, including from President Trump, adding he had a productive call with the president Monday.

Governor Brian Kemp in a Monday news conference
Governor Brian Kemp in a Monday news conference (WSB-TV)
Faith leaders pledged to join together in the fight against COVID-19.