Although many are upset with the decision, there have been some who are on board with it. Sen. Kelly Loeffler told 11Alive she support's Kemp's plan.
"I feel like the numbers show that we have flattened the curve, that our incidents of COVID-19 have peaked and that we absolutely need to look at the hurting Americans out there, 22 million jobs lost, families, farmers, small businesses are hurting," she said.
"We need to address this or risk an even bigger crisis in our country," Loeffler told 11Alive earlier this week. "Right now, what we're seeing has never been seen in our lifetimes. And we don't know where it's going, so we need to start to reopen the economy."
Gov. Kemp has faced criticism from President Donald Trump for his plan to reopen certain businesses in Georgia starting Thursday.
"I respect him, and I will let him make his decision. Would I do that? No," the president told reporters during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Wednesday. "I'd keep them a little longer. I want to protect people's lives. But I'm going to let him make his decision. But I told him: I totally disagree."
11Alive reached out to other candidates challenging Sen. Loeffler for her seat to get their reaction to the governor's order.
Rev. Raphael Warnock, who's a senior pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and running as a democrat in the U.S. Senate race, told 11Alive that the first order of business has to be the preservation of lives.
"You can say that you are trying to save souls and not be willing to save lives," he said.
11Alive also received statements from several other candidates. Below are their comments
Tamara Johnson-Shealey said the following:
"Not everyone can afford to continue to shelter in place and many small businesses and independent workers are not receiving government assistance. For those, this shut down is really hurting them and most want to return to work. I just hope and pray they take the necessary precautions, restart slowly and carefully and keep themselves and their customers safe."
Annette Davis Jackson said in part:
"We weren't prepared as a State to secure our people in a "health crisis", therefore, we must take time to build a safer and innovative approach to "People First", in our State and create the pipelines needed for people to thrive while waiting at home to go back to work. Our hospitals, nurses, doctors, CNA's, and technicians, need our attention right now. This is our #1 Priority. #Stayhomeunderthepreviousguidelines."
Here's part of Deborah Jackson's statement:
"We are all aware of the financial strain these businesses and others are struggling with at this time due to the shutdown. However, the primary focus must be on the health and safety of all Georgians."
Here is part of John Fortuin's statement:
"Kemp's statement to reopen some Georgia businesses now is just cowardly caving to the anti-science wing of his party, extremists who already threaten the lives of Georgians with their contempt for climate science."
Below is a portion of Richard Dien Winfield's statement:
"Governor Kemp’s decision to roll back coronavirus restrictions starting this Friday, including non-essential services that involve physical contact, is a reckless irresponsible assault on the health of the people of Georgia. Kemp is inviting businesses to endanger the lives of their workers, customers, and surrounding communities by reopening before we have anything near adequate supplies of Covid testing kits, PPE’s, and ventilators or sufficient contact tracing to handle the likely explosion of infections and fatal disease. Instead, Kemp should maintain shelter in place until these protective provisions are available."
Al Bartell provided the following statement:
"The Governor’s public policy communication impacts both a public health and economic recovery strategy. His communication provides public health technology and logistics to the people of Georgia. Additionally, his communication manages benchmarks to re-open the economy for businesses and organizations in Georgia. The Governor now needs to strengthen his relationship with long-term federal partners, which includes the candidates in the Special Election for U.S. Senate"
Rod Mack provided this comment:
At the beginning The United States Government begin to follow the COVID-19 instructions of the CDC, Dr. Facci a infectious disease scientist since 1968, And The World Health Organization... Now! The WHO funding is in jeopardy or frozen, Dr Facci is being silenced in some cases by #45, And the CDC is slightly being ignored. The Facts are REOPENING Businesses will further heighten this pandemic while we are in the middle of trying to find a cure/vaccine/medicine for this pandemic that happened 100 years ago. Governor Kemp cannot pick and choose where his constituents are and please them and kill them at the same time.
Here is part of Michael Todd Greene's statement:
Georgia reopening is a good thing. It is time for Georgians, Americans to live victoriously over CoVID-19. Romans 8:28 says that, “all things work together for the good” and as a free people, we can seek God for that promise over CoVID-19 as well – each in his or her own way. Yet make no mistake, CoVID-19 is a health threat not soon to disappear. While arguments and debate ensue on how we emerge from this pandemic, let us not forsake our civil liberties so quickly in legislating tests for communicable diseases. In so doing, we take a potential path that leads to fear and division, discrimination towards victims of a virus. Instead, let this be a time for leaders to encourage Americans to no longer ask what the government can do for their health, and instead ask what we can each do for the health of America.
Allen Buckley had this to say:
It's a difficult situation. While a balanced approach is necessary, I think the message will be interpreted as is it's alright to go back at it. We'll see a relapse. Getting through this problem requires a significant team effort by the public. No matter what, we'll very likely see a second round later this year due to the nature of the beast.