Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, the capital and the site of a recent surge in cases, told ABC News that she would keep asking “people to continue to stay home, follow the science and exercise common sense.”
On CNN, Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. of Augusta said that he had been caught off guard by the governor’s decision and questioned the wisdom of it.
He pointed out that gyms, barbershops and salons were “places where we’re all in close proximity to one another,” adding, that “without a series of educational efforts to those industries, it’s going to be extremely difficult for us to continue to flatten the curve.”
Mr. Kemp, who has been keen to help alleviate the economic anguish the statewide restrictions helped create, said that stores were not reopening for “business as usual,” noting that social distancing rules still must be enforced, and that businesses should check employees’ temperatures for fevers and ramp up sanitation efforts.
The development, he said, was “a small step forward and should be treated as such.”
But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, still expressed alarm, writing on Twitter that he feared “our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon.”
“We respect Georgia’s right to determine its own fate, but we are all in this together,” Mr. Graham wrote. “What happens in Georgia will impact us in South Carolina.”
Georgia has recorded more than 19,000 confirmed cases, and more than 770 deaths, with many concentrated in the counties making up the Atlanta area, which have a combined total of more than 6,000 cases and 200 deaths.