“Simply opening up the state doesn’t mean that everyone gets to walk around like they did back in February,” said Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, the district health director for Dekalb County in the Atlanta metro area. “Our messaging has got to be consistent: that there is a new normal. And while we’re open, we won’t be able to be open the way we were open before.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive orders supersede all local rules. So the only thing Ford said her team can do is communicate their own recommendations. The county is distributing masks and hand sanitizer to people who might not be able to get it for themselves.
“We’re trying to talk about equitable reentry because it’s not just about opening up the state, but we want to open up the state in a way that is equitable,” Ford said. “Make sure that folks who have hourly jobs, for example, that must report to work and have probably reported to work the whole time, are still provided options to be tested, options to have appropriate protective wear and opportunity, if needed, to be quarantined off site.”