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Sunday, 5 April 2020

Georgia governor re-opens beaches despite coronavirus lockdown, but Tybee Beach mayor opposes decision

Georgia State Patrol Capt. Thornell King, bottom right, watches visitors to Tybee Island, Ga., beach after Gov. Bryan Kemp signed an executive order allowing people to exercise outside, with social distancing of at least six feet because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Georgia State Patrol Capt. Thornell King, bottom right, watches visitors to Tybee Island, Ga., beach after Gov. Bryan Kemp signed an executive order allowing people to exercise outside, with social distancing of at least six feet because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Not everyone is as eager to bring tourists back out to Georgia’s beaches as Gov. Brian Kemp.
Tybee Beach Mayor Shirley Sessions issued a scathing response to Kemp Saturday, days after the governor announced that the state’s stay-at-home order included re-opening the beaches.
“Tybee City Council and I are devastated by the sudden directives and do not support his decisions,” Sessions wrote. “The health of our residents, staff and visitors are being put at risk and we will pursue legal avenues to overturn his reckless mandate.”
Tybee Beach voted on March 19 to close the beaches, according to the Savannah Morning News, but Kemp’s ruling Thursday overruled the city council.
“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," Sessions wrote.
In a Facebook video, the mayor implored people to stay away from the beach, no matter how inviting the sun and sand seems. She also asked people to take photos and videos of anyone not abiding to social distancing guidelines, as Tybee Beach does not have the personnel to enforce the CDC’s rules.
Kemp did not publicly respond to Sessions’ criticism directly, but tweeted photos of Tybee Island that showed the mostly empty beach.
“Beachgoers are mostly locals and complying with social distancing orders,” he tweeted. “We will continue to monitor conditions.”

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