As of April 24, the State of Georgia began the process of reopening at the direction of Republican Governor Brian Kemp. Under his directive, businesses such as nail and hair salons, massage parlors, gyms, retail stores, and restaurants were cleared to open at owners’ discretion. Social distancing and protective measures were “strongly encouraged” but not mandated.
Now, a couple of weeks after this order, it would seem that certain areas of the state are back to “normal,” whatever that means. That is to say, crowds are gathering in and around re-opened businesses with little regard for the health and safety of the workers whose labor they feel entitled to, and PPE is far from guaranteed for workers who have to depend on the goodwill of their managers to gain access to supplies. Masks are an uncommon sight among the patrons gathering in these spaces, social distancing long forgotten as many feel their own routines and material desires supersede the needs of their neighbors — and, on some level, the greater collective health of society.
New cases of COVID-19 continue to crop up on a daily basis, testing still remains inaccessible to the majority of the state’s population, and deaths continue to be miscounted and misrepresented. Unfortunately, Georgia is one of the first of many that will serve as a cautionary tale of what happens when the capitalist ruling class of the United States places the needs of profit and capital above the livelihood and safety of the working class.
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