SAVANNAH, Ga. – Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp traveled across the state Friday reminding Georgians to be diligent in preventing the spread of coronavirus over the holiday weekend.
At appearances in Atlanta, Valdosta, Savannah and Augusta, Kemp urged people to do “four things for fall” -- wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly and follow the guidance of public health officials.
“I fully realize that Georgians are very tired and ready to move on from the pandemic. I know that I am. And we are ready for a vaccine sooner rather than later,” Kemp told reporters. “But in light of that, we’ve got to hunker down and keep chopping.”
Typically a weekend of large events, parties and travel, public health officials are urging people to stay safe as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country.
While COVID-19 cases spike in Georgia after both Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Kemp said more people are aware of the dangers crowds pose to spread the virus than they were at the beginning of the summer.
Speaking in Savannah -- one of the cities where Kemp used state authority to override local mask mandates -- he continued to urge mask use but opposes making it a requirement.
“It doesn’t work very well,” Kemp said of a mandate. “We’re asking Georgians and I trust them to do the right thing.”
Kemp talked about recent improvements in the COVID-19 spread in the state, noting that the percentage of tests that come back positive has dropped from 12.4% to 8.6%. Experts say anything above 5% is an indication of community spread.
Kemp said Georgia State Patrol officers will enforce social distancing on Georgia’s beaches this weekend even though outdoor activities are safer than indoor gatherings.