Gov. Brian Kemp said at this rate, he does not plan to increase coronavirus restrictions on Georgia or lock the state down again.
“I don’t see us imposing any new restrictions with the numbers we’re seeing right now,” he said at an economic development event Tuesday. “I do not want to go back and start shutting things down again.”
This week Kemp renewed his executive order maintaining coronavirus restrictions on businesses and a shelter-in-place mandate on vulnerable populations through mid-September.
He said Georgia has “made great progress” but he and health officials will be “very cautious” and watch the numbers for the next two weeks as more schools re-open before deciding whether to loosen restrictions after that executive order expires.
Georgia’s seven-day moving average of new coronavirus cases and its hospitalization rate have been declining for about a month. But Tuesday saw one of the highest single-day totals for deaths reported since the pandemic began.
Kemp urged people to follow public health guidelines over Labor Day weekend, to preserve that progress and avoid the spikes that the state saw after Memorial Day and July 4th.
“Just be smart about what you’re doing. Limit your gatherings,” he said. “If you can’t do that or you’re in an environment where there’s a lot of people, make sure you’re wearing your mask, socially distance, be respectful of other people.”
He asked Georgians to think about the public health officials and healthcare workers that are going to be “laboring on Labor Day.”
Kemp visited an Amazon fulfillment center in Gwinnett County to highlight the state’s fiscal year 2020 economic development investment numbers: a four percent increase in economic development investment over the past year, compared to the year before. $7.4 billion dollars worth of new business projects supporting more than 24,000 jobs came to the state during the fiscal year 2020, numbers that Kemp called “amazing” amidst a pandemic.
“And even more exciting, 30% of the jobs came from outside of the metro Atlanta area,” he said.
Kemp also announced Georgia’s seventh time receiving the “top state for business” title by Area Development magazine.
He said that because the state has been able to maintain its AAA bond rating there won’t be a need for future across-the-board budget cuts for state agencies, which had to cut about 11% this summer.
Georgia’s unemployment rate stands at 7.6%, more than double what it was last year.