Dalton, Ga. Officials React to the State Opening Businesses

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DALTON, Ga. (WDEF)- Dalton officials are weighing in on Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s order that allows non essential businesses to open Friday.

“Our small businesses in the city of Dalton and Whitfield County are really struggling right now” said The board of commissioners chairman of Whitfield County Lynn Laughter.

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But Laughter believes opening businesses too early could be more damaging to the economy, “Because then if we have a second wave and have to shut down, that would really be devastating.”

Owner of the Oakwood Cafe in Dalton Kacey Carpenter can fully rehire his staff with his dining room being reopen Monday.

“It’s just important to kind of get our staff back in the groove of working getting our customers starting to come back in” said Carpenter.

While some Georgia officials believe the state should hesitate to open up the economy, the Mayor of Dalton David Pennington says there is no better time then right now.

“First of all were in a depression, it’s just a matter of how long this depression last and how hard it’s going to be to get us out of it” said Mayor Pennington.

Mayor Pennington doesn’t think the reopening of businesses will guarantee over crowded venues, “Our medical community probably rightfully so has scared us to death” said Mayor Pennington. “So I think it will take people a long time to start going back to some of these restaurants and community gatherings, eating six feet apart.”

When News 12 asked Mayor Pennington “What matters more right now? The Dalton economy or the health of Dalton citizens” he responded, “First of all that’s not the choice there. There’s trade offs on both sides of it. Depression leads to a very poor health also. The choice is between what is the best mix of policies between the two.”