Georgia executives appointed to examine reopening economy

  • When and how to reopen America for business has been a major point of  debate in recent weeks.
    When and how to reopen America for business has been a major point of debate in recent weeks.
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By Dave Williams

Bureau Chief

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

transportation sector.

 

>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,

respectively.

 

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

virus.