CORONAVIRUS

Reopening economies up to governors, but Sen. Chuck Grassley disagrees with Georgia decision

Sen. Chuck Grassley listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last June in Washington, D.C. The Iowa Republica
Sen. Chuck Grassley listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last June in Washington, D.C. The Iowa Republican told reporters Thursday he thinks the Georgia governor is acting too quickly in reopening that state’s economy. (Tribune News Service)

How and when states reopen their economies should largely be left up to governors, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is a member of the bipartisan task force on safely reopening America.

However, the Iowa Republican disagrees with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to begin reopening gyms, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors Friday. On Monday, Kemp will allow restaurants to resume dine-in service, and movie theaters and other entertainment venues can reopen.

“Well, there’s 50 answers to your question because we’ve got 50 different states and 50 different governors that are going to make these decisions,” Grassley told Iowa reporters Thursday when asked about the Georgia governor’s decision.

Grassley believes the guidelines laid out by President Donald Trump and his advisers give governors the flexibility they need to make decisions best suited for their states.

The administration recommends states, before reopening their economies, see a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19 syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period; a downward trajectory of documented cases or positive tests as a percent of total tests, within a 14-day period; and hospitals are treating patients without crisis care and have a robust testing program in place for at-risk health care workers, including emerging antibody testing.

Based on that, Grassley thinks Kemp may be acting prematurely.

“So I would disagree with the governor of Georgia,” Grassley said. “To the extent to which they aren’t following those guidelines, I think that’s a mistake. And I hope (that) if they’re willing to go faster, that there isn’t any bad results from it.”

From both a policy and a constitutional perspective, he added, “the governors have the authority here. Plus the practicality of New York being different than Iowa, it ought to be up to the governor’s explorations.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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