COVID-19 restrictions: Too soon to return to normal in Georgia, Emory expert says

An infectious disease expert with Emory University gave his professional opinion on Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to roll back pandemic restrictions on bars, restaurants, live performances, conventions, sporting events and other restrictions in Georgia.

"Too soon," Executive Associate Dean for Emory at Grady Carlos del Rio wrote on Twitter of Friday

Del Rio indicated Department of Health and Human Services data compiled on April 23 shows there is still substantial transmission of the virus in Georgia.

The data shows COVID-19 deaths per capita decreased by 26% from the previous week. 

Del Rio also said he believes the state's rate of vaccination is too low for some businesses to operate without some restrictions.

The CDC the risk of COVID-19 spread increases in a restaurant or bar setting as interactions within 6 feet of others increases, recommending mask-wearing and a six-foot social distance when dining indoors.

In a 28-page executive order released Friday, the governor encourages Georgians to continue to follow social distancing and following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, but ends mask requirements for restaurant workers, capacity restrictions for movie theaters and other large venues, and lifts other safety guidelines for gyms, barbershops, and other close-contact businesses. 


"Businesses across the Peach State have followed COVID-19 restrictions for over a year to keep their employees and customers safe, and will now be able to make informed decisions about how their business operations move forward," said Mallory Blount, a spokesperson for Kemp. "Georgians know best how to protect themselves and their families, and they deserve to be able to return to normal."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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