WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The Republican governor of Georgia is opening up much of the state’s economy – despite objections from health experts, fellow republicans, and even the president.
It’ll be one of the first looks at how a state re-opens as the pandemic continues.
Georgia hasn’t met the CDC guidelines to re-open its economy, but on Friday, Republican Governor Brian Kemp eased most business restrictions statewide.
“It’s important that decisions by elected officials are driven by the real facts on the ground and the health situation,” said Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
It’s an approach Portman said he wants for Ohio. He’s watching Georgia to see how citizens there respond.
“I think they’re going to care about what they perceive as the health situation,” Portman said. “In other words, if they don’t think it’s safe, they’re not going to go to the restaurants that reopen.”
Republican Indiana Senator Mike Braun prefers a targeted approach over a one-size-fits-all.
“I think it’s going to be different county by county, within states,” Braun said. “And state by state across the country.”
Officials said testing is still not widespread enough to get a true sense of the virus’ reach, which Illinois Democratic Representative Cheri Bustos said is crucial.
“If there’s one thing we have to make sure that we’re getting right before we get back to normal in this country, is that we have the capacity to test,” she said.
But Braun argues state economies can’t wait for testing to catch up.
“I don’t believe we’re going to be in a spot to where we can open the economy up based upon testing being everywhere because I think that will delay that,” he said.
Braun thinks a county’s rate of infection should also be considered.
“So we need to do it in a smart way, that doesn’t gamble in places where there’s been a high incidence,” he said.