The New, New Normal: Hotlanta Returns as Georgia Brings Back Nightlife
May 29 2020

Georgia is Reopening its Bars

By: John Glover

The New, New Normal: Hotlanta Returns as Georgia Brings Back Nightlife

Georgia will continue to reopen its economy starting next week, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Governor Brian Kemp released guidelines stipulating that bars and nightclubs can come back on Monday, provided that they follow certain safety recommendations. The newly relaxed rules also allow for larger gatherings of people; as many as 25 can be in one place at once.

The safety procedures include wearing PPE; screening workers for illness, presumably by taking their temperatures; and improved sanitation. Amusement parks, such as Six Flags in Atlanta, could follow next. The governor even said that he could see schools holding in-person summer classes and sports leagues playing games again.

Kemp has come under fire from some critics, who say he's moving too quickly. By resuming public life at this still-early stage, the argument goes, the state risks a "second wave of the virus." Indeed, already since the first phase of Georgia's reopening strategy, they have seen their coronavirus numbers rise.

Governor Kemp claims the trend is an aberration. The increase in cases, since dine-in restaurants, barber shops, and beauty salons came back, should be chalked up to more widely available testing. Kemp says a larger proportion of people—especially among vulnerable populations, including nursing home inhabitants—are testing positive because a larger proportion of people are getting tested in the first place.

This line coming from state officials is familiar. Some public health authorities aren't buying it. An expert at Emory University in Atlanta, for example, said that the testing increase couldn't possibly account for the rise in numbers Georgia sees right now. With as many as 26 percent more people getting sick overall, part of the trend must also be due to a larger number of people in the state interacting outside the home.

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