Atlanta Mayor 'At A Loss' For Why Governor Decided To Reopen Bowling Alleys, Tattoo Parlors, Gyms

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms said she learned that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp planned on reopening the state when her 18-year-old son ran into her room Monday during the surprise announcement and declared "he could leave home."

Bottoms said she was "perplexed" about the governor's controversial announcement to reopen the state's bowling alleys, nail salons, gyms, tattoo parlors and other "non-essential" businesses at the end of this week. The mayor of Georgia's largest city said she is "at a loss" both as a parent and as an elected government official by the governor's decision. Bottoms said she did not speak with the governor prior to his announcement, which comes as the state's coronavirus cases and deaths are still increasing each day.

"I have a great working relationship with our governor but I did not speak with him before he made this announcement," Bottoms told CNN's Chris Cuomo Monday evening, noting she also conferred with several other state officials who also said they had not been informed. "So we really are at a loss and I am concerned as a mother and as the mayor of our capital city."

“We really are at a loss, and I am concerned as a mother and as the mayor of our capital city.”

Atlanta’s mayor says Georgia’s Republican governor did not consult her and other key state leaders before deciding to allow some businesses to reopen. pic.twitter.com/qSw2Kbe0gr

— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) April 21, 2020

"I'm perplexed that we have opened up in this way," Bottoms continued. "As I look at the data and as I talk with public health officials, I don't see what that it's based on anything that's logical."

Bottoms said daily coronavirus statistics she receives show "our numbers are going," specifically a 14 percent increase in the death rate and a 7 percent increase in positive coronavirus cases. "We are not testing asymptomatic" individuals, she also cautioned. Bottoms said that any success the state has had in reducing cases or deaths has been directly related to their aggressiveness "in asking people to stay home."

But a model cited by the governor as "great news" last Friday from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed Georgia passed its peak for virus-related deaths on April 7 and its peak COVID-19 hospitalizations last Wednesday. According to Johns Hopkins University data, Georgia has had 18,947 cases of coronavirus and 733 tied to COVID-19.

Bottoms said that despite Atlanta's metro area having around 6 million people, more than half the population of the entire state, it is rural areas that "didn't shut down" which have become hot spots for new coronavirus cases. She cited Bibb County in the area around Macon, Georgia, as well as Albany suffering "one of the worst outbreaks in the country."

Kemp, who admitted to reporters Monday the state's coronavirus cases will "go up," said that getting Americans back to work has to take precedence over the pandemic social distancing protections. Kemp has repeatedly thanked health care workers, scientific data and God for helping guide his decision-making process amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"As we begin this process, let's reaffirm our commitment to each other & Georgia's future. I am confident that together, we will emerge victorious from this war. With your help & God's grace, we will build a safer, stronger state for our families & generations to come," Kemp tweeted Monday evening.

Kemp's office didn't respond to Newsweek's request for comment before publication.

atlanta mayor keisha bottoms georgia
Mayor Bottoms said she was blindsided by the Republican governor's controversial announcement to reopen the state's bowling alleys, nail salons, gyms, tattoo parlors and other "non-essential" businesses at the end of this week. Screenshot: CNN | Chris Cuomo