Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms lashed out at Black businesses that reopened after Gov. Brian Kemp lifted restrictions last week.
The mother of four criticized Kemp for lifting restrictions too soon and she urged residents, particularly Black people, to stay indoors and avoid patronizing hair and nail salons.
The mayor lashed out at people who stood in line at Greenbriar Mall in southwest Atlanta to buy a pair of Air Jordans at a Black-owned shoe store on Saturday.
On Monday, Bottoms tweeted:
"For those who crowded at Greenbriar awaiting the new Jordans, gathered at Piedmont Pk, shot fireworks at the Mall West End & even those now shopping at Lennox Square Mall, know that the only thing that’s changed about Covid-19 is your chance of catching."
In an op-ed for Breitbart News, political commentator and writer Rob Smith questioned the motive behind Mayor Bottoms' fear mongering.
"Mayor Bottoms will tell you that coronavirus fears are behind her warnings, but Georgia’s COVID-19 numbers lag far behind the rest of the country in terms of infections and deaths," he wrote.
Smith compared Atlanta's Covid-19 deaths, about 1,250, to the death toll in New York state, over 19,000 deaths, and concluded that Mayor Bottoms is over exaggerating when she claims reopening Atlanta would be "deadly".
"Mayor Bottoms says that beginning the path to reopening Georgia is 'deadly.' Yet while it is true that African Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, it is also true that the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus are among older Americans with pre-existing health conditions."
Smith suggests Mayor Bottoms is willing to sacrifice Black businesses to ensure the Democratic party's chances of winning in November.
He accused Bottoms of attacking the "African American voter base" with "misinformation and conspiracy theories," that are "counterproductive to keeping Atlanta's citizens healthy in every way, including economically."
"Telling a young and healthy small business owner to wait until his or her business is fully destroyed with no chance of coming back because the "science" says so is the kind of messaging that will continue to hurt American citizens of all colors. Moreover, business owners should be given the opportunity to make decisions about their own businesses."