R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe has penned a new op-ed today on the Guardian’s website.
In the piece, the rocker and long-time Athens, Ga., resident critiques the ways the state’s government officials have been handling the coronavirus outbreak.
“Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, a Donald Trump acolyte, was slow to order safety measures and quick to lift them, even limiting individual cities’ abilities to create a stronger framework than his recommendations,” Stipe writes in the piece. “Despite weak steps from state leadership, Athens was full of smart and careful residents, and the community remained much lower in case and death metrics than other population centers in Georgia throughout the spring and summer.”
Stipe offers suggestions for specific ways Georgian officials can take better precautions and cites steps other states have already implemented to slow the spread—including limiting bars and restaurants to only outdoor dining and keeping gatherings to a minimum. Georgia was notably one of the first states to OK re-opening spaces like restaurants and movie theaters following the U.S.’ initial covid outbreak.
“2020 is the time, however, that we must find a different and more intimate source of warmth and revelry, rather than assembled masses,” Stipe continues. “The safety we create this fall and winter will make all those gatherings and events in future years more meaningful when this pandemic is behind us, having been shared by our friends and loved ones emerging with their health and lives intact.”
Read Michael Stipe’s full op-ed for the Guardian here.