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Marc Hyden

Georgia was the first state in the country to allow businesses to re-open after the initial coronavirus lockdown in 2020, but with people gripped with a fear of the unknown, this move drew criticism from many corners. “I think it’s too soon,” then-President Trump quipped, which was one of the more measured responses.

Georgia’s re-opening and policymakers’ decision to eschew mask mandates also elicited fiery, hyperbolic tirades. “Re-opening [Georgia’s] businesses is a calculated, deliberate act of violence,” read one news article; the Washington Post wrote, “Georgia’s governor is a prime example of the fecklessness that is killing Americans;” and online commenters accused Georgia’s leaders of orchestrating mass murder through the state’s pandemic response.

Marc Hyden is the director of state government affairs at the R Street Institute. Follow him on Twitter at @marc hyden.