By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – Eight top executives of Georgia-based companies are among
dozens of CEOs, economists and scholars President Donald Trump has
appointed to look for ways to smoothly reopen a U.S. economy devastated
by the coronavirus pandemic.
Members of the advisory group represent a variety of industries from
agriculture and banking to transportation and sports.
Georgia appointees include Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning to represent the
energy sector and David Abney, CEO of UPS Inc., to represent the
>From the food and beverage industries, Trump tapped James Quincey, Dan
Cathy and Walt Ehmer, CEOs of Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A and Waffle House,
Three current or former executives at The Home Depot Inc. – CEO Craig
Menear, co-founder Ken Langone and co-founder and former CEO Bernie
Marcus – will represent the retail sector.
When and how to reopen America for business has been a major point of
debate in recent weeks. Public health leaders – including members of the
president’s coronavirus task force – have cautioned Trump and the
nation’s governors that dropping shelter-in-place orders and social
distancing guidelines prematurely could cause a new spike in COVID-19
cases and deaths.
At the same time, conservative and business groups have been pushing to
at least start the process of reopening the economy and getting laid off
and furloughed workers back on the job.
“It is time to start how we will safely get Americans back to work,”
said U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga. “Georgia is home to many businesses
that are known worldwide as industry leaders. President Trump is
absolutely right to take advantage of that expertise as his
administration plans how to reopen our economy.”
While some states, notably New York, appear to have hit a peak in
COVID-19 cases and deaths, Georgia is not expected to reach its peak
until late this month or early in May. As of noon Wednesday, 14,987
Georgians had tested positive for coronavirus, and 552 had died from the