Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that he has executive ordered the reopening of some of the state’s popular beaches as of 6 p.m. Friday night.
“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 the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). He added that “This Executive Order thus lifted any local ordinances or orders that had closed or restricted access to Georgia beaches.”
Kemp’s executive order allows for people to exercise at the beach and to keep at least 6 feet away from all people.
However, Kemp’s actions have sparked outrage, even with local mayors. Mayor of Tybee Island, Shirley Sessions is opposed to the governor’s decision and said this in a public statement:
“As the Pentagon ordered 100,000 body bags to store the corpses of Americans killed by the Coronavirus, Governor 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. While the beaches have to reopen under the Governor’s order, Tybee will not have beach access and parking lots will remain closed until further notice. It should also be noted that Tybee currently is not properly staffed with Emergency Medical Services and there are no lifeguards in place.”
This comes just days after Gov. Kemp announced a stay at home order for the state of Georiga and came under fire for saying that he and state officials were just “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”