California regresses in COVID-19 recovery, infighting erupts between Atlanta Mayor and Georgia Governor


Jason Lander (Flick'r)

California is one of the states forced to take steps backward in reopening from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

Ole Olafson, Reporter

On Monday, California became one of an increasing number of states that are currently backpedaling in their efforts to reopen their economies following significant upticks in new cases of COVID-19.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has reinstated statewide restrictions that close bars, museums and zoos, as well as prohibiting indoor dining.

Melody Gutierrez reported for the Los Angeles Times that additionally, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties will have to close offices with nonessential workers, churches, gyms, hair salons and malls among others.

Gutierrez reports that the additional restrictions that individual counties may be subject to are a result of being put on a “watch list” by the state.  Counties that are placed on the list show three days of rising hospitalization rates, a decline in hospital capacity or an increase in community spread.

Counties can go on and off the list sporadically, causing businesses to have to alternately reopen and then shut down again, sometimes with only days in between.  The new restrictions will reportedly remain in place until deemed unnecessary by the State Public Health Officer.

The state has allowed individual school districts to decide whether they should reopen for in-person classes in the fall.  A concession that nearby Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has resisted making, only calling for the first day of school to be postponed.

The battle over public safety is becoming even more fractured in Georgia, where Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms rolled the city back to Phase 1 of reopening after a dramatic rise in new cases there.

“Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences,” Bottoms said in a statement.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp subsequently undercut Bottom’s authority by calling her edict “merely guidance” and “both non-binding and legally unenforceable.”

As some states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas have had to rollback reopening, others like Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington who were more cautious about reopening have only had to put progressing into less restrictive phases on hold until their situations stabilize.