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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: State governors, listen to your mayors who don’t want to reopen

Gov. Brian Kemp
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia has said his state is lifting some restrictions on businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Bob Andres / Associated Press)

To the editor: As states are looking at reopening their economies, it is vital that local municipalities have the ability to enact policies protecting the health and well-being of their residents and businesses. Communities are left vulnerable when state preemption prevents them from taking action. (“Mayors resist Southern governors’ push to reopen despite coronavirus outbreak,” April 21)

In Georgia, while Gov. Brian Kemp wants to reopen the state by the end of this week, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis are urging their residents to stay at home and calling for increased testing.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster announced that some “nonessential” businesses will begin to reopen. Mayor Stephen Benjamin of Columbia, however, is advocating that the state should follow the White House’s guidelines that states open only after two weeks of declining infections.

The increase in state preemption of paid sick days, equitable housing laws and other policies has already hampered the ability of municipal leaders to protect the health and well-being of their communities. Now, we’re seeing the consequences of state interference in local decision-making.

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Cities and towns know their residents best and must have the flexibility to protect people.

Kim Haddow, New Orleans

The writer is director of the Local Solutions Support Center.

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To the editor: On April 20, I flew from the southern Mexican state of Tabasco to Mexico City, and from there to Atlanta and finally Los Angeles. I had come by land from Guatemala two days before.

At the land border, my temperature was checked and I was asked basic questions about my health. In Mexico City, I was given another health check before boarding my flight to Atlanta.

I expected a rigorous health screening in Atlanta, but there was nothing at all. Many of the passengers were not wearing face coverings, including those who showed some signs of sickness. When we disembarked in Los Angeles, there was no health check.

I am now self-quarantining, which I had intended to do anyway, but I had not expected the riskiest part of the trip to be on a U.S. airline inside the country.

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Susan Emrich, Del Mar


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