Atlanta Mayor Says It Made Her ‘Heart Sink’ To See Hair Salons Open In Georgia

Mayor Keisha Bottoms

Atlanta Mayor Says It Made Her ‘Heart Sink’ To See Hair Salons Open In Georgia

Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke to Tamron Hall about Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen the state last Friday.

Published April 28th

Written by BET Staff

On Friday, April 24, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp made the decision to reopen select businesses in his state, and even his good buddy, President Donald Trump disagreed with what some have called an ill advised decision. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is speaking out yet again about their governor’s choices saying, the decision was “driven purely by economics.”

On yesterday's (April 28) episode of The Tamron Hall Show, the talk show host said, “I know one report, there was a hair salon that reportedly booked appointments a few weeks out as a result of the opening. Are you surprised by those who are deciding, even though it’s right now a minority of businesses, are you surprised by those who have decided it is worth the risk to reopen?” 

“When I saw that hair salon, it made my heart sink,” Mayor Bottoms said. “Because we all know what that means. It means that you're going to have people close to each other, you're going to leave those hair salons, go back to their families and to their communities and potentially spread this virus. It is so surprising to me that people have such a disregard for the science and the data, especially when you look at the African American community, where there is a barbershop and hair salon on every single corner.”

She continued, “When I see pictures of people getting their beards trimmed without a mask on, we know that you are putting one another at risk. And that is what this is all about. It’s about not putting each other at risk, especially in a city and in a state where so many people have underlying health conditions that often make this virus deadly.”

RELATED | BET INTERVIEW: Atlanta Mayor On Being Blindsided By Governor’s Decision To Reopen Georgia and Personal Impact of Coronavirus

Bottoms also addressed the decision by Kemp to reopen saying, “The only thing I can think of is this is driven purely by economics. We are facing a $4 billion shortfall in our state's budget, and I know that when people fill out unemployment applications, they are asked, ‘Do you have the ability to go back to work?’ So perhaps this will impact the benefits that have to be paid out to people.”

Rapper 2 Chainz, who owns several restaurants in the city, was going to reopen but decided against it after receiving public backlash and then talking to Bottoms. Along with his business partner, Mychel “”Snoop” Dillard, 2 Chainz has decided instead to open the doors to one of his restaurants for two hours to feed Atlanta’s homeless population. The rapper was on hand along with several volunteers to hand out meals to those in need. 

Reopening is a process that will happen in phases, the mayor explains, “It has to be a phased approach. I think it's a very different situation. You know, you have a set of people that have not tested positive and they are living in a contained area. And that is something I would want to get input on from our health experts. We know we will have to phase in this economic recovery.”

She also added, “I can even see us opening up dental offices, perhaps, and medical offices, in places where people have access to PPE and know the appropriate way to put it on.”

According to The New York Times, over 23,000 people are infected with the COVID-19 virus in Georgia where there have been over 900 deaths.

Watch Tamron Hall’s interview with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms below:

For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

(Photo by BET2020/Getty Images for BET NETWORKS)

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