Posts tagged with "masks"

illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

DELTA VARIANT PUTS NORMAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON AT RISK

By: Clara Guthrie

There was a period in the late spring and early summer of this past year in which it seemed America’s COVID-19 struggles were nearing some long-awaited conclusion: the last few moments of breathlessness before a collective sigh of relief. At that time, students and their parents looked forward to a seemingly normal back-to-school season. Yet, the recent rise in the Delta variant has introduced a new wave of doubt.

On August 8 alone, The New York Times reported 36,068 new Covid-19 cases and a seven-day average of 110,360 total cases in the United States. Covid-related deaths are also on the rise, with a seven-day average of 516 deaths. This figure has risen from a weekly average of 188 deaths only one month prior, on July 6. Experts attribute these rising numbers to the highly contagious Delta variant overlaid with low vaccination rates in certain areas across the country. When asked about these trends in mid-July, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said, “This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk.”

Unfortunately, as the Delta variant continues to run rampant throughout unvaccinated communities, people who are fully vaccinated are also being infected. Although, it is far rarer. These “break-through” cases speak mainly to the wild infectiousness of the Delta variant, coupled with the facts that no vaccine is 100% effective and that our knowledge of how long immunity lasts after vaccination is still quite murky. According to CNBC, however, “break-through” cases still represent fewer than 0.08% of those who have been fully vaccinated in the United States since the start of the year.

With that being said, the Delta variant is impacting the hopes of a normal back-to-school season in two distinct ways. The first, perhaps more obvious way, is that parents and teachers are fearing for students’ health. This fear suggests a potential return to online learning and more strict social distancing and mask mandates enforced within schools.

It is important to note that COVID-19 poses a far lesser threat to young children than to adults; the risk of becoming severely ill from the virus increases for those over the age of 50 and only grows with age. According to the CDC, the risk of serious illness or complications from COVID-19 for children is actually lower than that from the flu. However, children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for any form of vaccination. This restriction is raising concerns about how susceptible younger age groups are to becoming sick, even if that sickness does not lead to any serious complications.

Thus, many parents and school districts are pursuing a range COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of students. Time Magazine shared a story last week of a school board in Des Moines, Iowa that has already decided to offer a virtual learning option for elementary school students. The ability to transition to in-person learning is available whenever the family feels comfortable enough to do so. This move was, in part, forced by the recent ruling of eight states, including Iowa, to ban schools from being able to require masks – despite the CDC’s recommendation that all students should wear masks inside schools, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated. “Had we been able to follow the CDC recommendations that everyone in school is masked, regardless of their vaccine status—if we were able to mandate that, then I think we’d be having a different conversation here,” Phil Roeder, a spokesperson for Des Moines’ Polk County public schools, said.

Other counties are having similar struggles, even without the imposition from state governments to ban mask mandates within schools. For example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in May that all online learning would be eliminated come fall, a decision that he has not yet reversed. But many parents are now petitioning for online options for their children as safety concerns continue to rise. One parent, Farah Despeignes, who is the president of the Bronx Parent Leaders Advocacy Group and has two middle-school-aged sons, said, “When you think about the conditions of the schools with old buildings, with not enough ventilation, that are co-located, that are overcrowded—for us, in the Bronx, in underserved communities, it’s not as simple as, ‘Well, let’s just get back to school.’”

In California, options for students are equally limited. According to The Los Angeles Times, the state has done away with “hybrid learning, ”a combination of in-person and online learning. As a result of such, Los Angeles County parents had until August 6 to choose between either solely in-person or online learning for their children. The latter option is expected to take the form of an independent study, rather than the supportive online learning of last school year. On August 6th, L.A. Unified School District reported that only 10,280 of their almost 665,000 students opted for the online option.

The second prominent way in which the Delta variant is affecting back-to-school season is through the shopping behavior of students and their families. Back when the hopes of a normal school year were still high, The National Retail Federation predicted that consumers with children K-12 would spend a record-breaking 37.1 billion dollars this year. Furthermore, it was predicted that back-to-college spending would reach 71 billion dollars. These predictions were due to the excitement associated with a long-awaited return to the classroom after over a year away, when items like lunchboxes and backpacks seemed superfluous.

However, according to a recent poll by First Insight, many consumers are feeling anxious about returning to stores, trying on clothing in dressing rooms and making big purchases due to the risk of the Delta variant. In fact, 56% of respondents said they are actively cutting back their spending at retailers. The CEO of Bath Bed & Beyond, Mark Tritton, told CNBC that their stores have observed people delaying their back-to-school investments, and that peak spending may extend further into September than usual.

As many students return to their classrooms and the Food and Drug Administration continues to work on improving vaccines for individuals under the age of 12, it will become more and more clear how great of a mark Covid-19 has left on the American schooling system and the children within it.

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

LOLLAPALOOZA × DELTA VARIANT

By: Clara Guthrie

Public health experts are warning that the crowded Lollapalooza music festival in downtown Chicago this past weekend may lead to a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases, especially given the increasing risk of the Delta variant. Festival organizers estimate 100,000 people attended the event each of the four days, and neither social distancing nor mask wearing (for vaccinated attendees) was enforced.

Despite concerns from medical professionals and a steady rise in Delta variant cases leading up the festival, both the Chicago Department of Public Health and Lollapalooza’s health experts approved the production of the festival as planned ahead of time.

Although operating at full capacity, the festival did have certain security measures in place in order to protect its guests; to enter, people had to show either their Covid-19 vaccination card or proof of a negative Covid-19 test from the preceding 72 hours. According to the festival’s website, they also required those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask.

In a statement released Monday by festival organizers, it was revealed that 91% of the attendees showed proof of vaccination, and 8% showed negative Covid-19 tests. The last 1% were denied entry due to a lack of proper documentation.

These statistics are complicated, however, by a claim from a Chicago Tribune photo intern, Vashon Jordan Jr., that fake vaccination cards were being used at the event. On August 1st, he tweeted, “Fake Covid-19 vaccination cards are 100% a thing at Lollapalooza in Chicago. You can get it with a single-day wristband for $50. I have confirmed that it does work.” In a separate tweet he clarified, “And by ‘fake’ I mean it doesn’t belong to the holder.” Jordan Jr. also recorded maskless concert goers dancing in large crowds and boarding public transportation—where masks are explicitly required—after the day’s events.

According to Dr. Tina Tan, a professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who specializes in infectious diseases, the precautions taken by Lollapalooza were simply insufficient given the prevalence of the Delta variant. Tan said that a safer event would have maintained smaller crowds, enforced social distancing and masks, and only allowed vaccinated individuals to attend. “When you have 100,000 or more people who are in a fairly enclosed space and there’s no social distancing, the vast majority are not wearing masks, you are going to get some transmission of the Covid-19 Delta variant,” she said.

As of August 2nd, Chicago was reporting an average of 206 new cases each day, and many of those who are being hospitalized for Covid-19 are not vaccinated. These data reflect a recent and definite uptick in cases as the Delta variant poses a serious threat across the globe. Given the roughly two to 14 day incubation period for Covid-19, it is currently unclear just how Lollapalooza will affect these numbers in Chicago and its surrounding areas. According to Dr. Robert Citronberg, an infectious disease physician with Advocate Aurora Health, “The next couple of days you could potentially see cases. I think by next weekend we’re probably going to be having a good idea about how much transmission occurred because of Lollapalooza.”

What experts already know with certainty is that any transmission from Lollapalooza will not only affect Chicago and its suburbs but also the areas that people return home to after the festival, seeing as thousands of people travelled to Chicago just for the weekend. “The real problem is not so much that a bunch of young people who come into Chicago getting COVID at this event. The real problem is them taking it back to places that have very low vaccination rates,” Dr. Emily Landon, executive director for infection prevention and control at the University of Chicago Medical Center, said.

According to the New York Times, roughly 70% of American adults have received at least one shot: a goal that President Biden set for the country to hit by July 4th but that took almost an extra month to achieve. And many individual states are struggling to vaccinate their population and thus are grappling with new Covid-19 cases and Covid-related hospitalizations. Alabama and Mississippi have the lowest vaccination rates in the country, at 43.2% and 44% respectively. Illinois falls somewhere in the middle with 59% of its adults being fully vaccinated.

Lollapalooza’s controversy did not stop at Covid-19 concerns. On Sunday, the final day of performances, rapper DaBaby was pulled from his headlining spot after festival organizer caught wind of his previous homophobic comments. While performing at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami on July 25, DaBaby made discriminatory and incorrect comments about gay men and HIV, which he later defended in a series of 19 videos on his Instagram stories. “What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show,” he said. “It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. […] Me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the fuck up.”

Lollapalooza officials tweeted to announce DaBaby’s removal, saying, “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Fellow rappers Young Thug and G Herbo took his place. On Monday, DaBaby took to Instagram to apologize “for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important.”

Looking beyond the festival’s drama, Rolling Stone took a moment to celebrate the most positive and powerful moments from Lollapalooza, saying, “it was full of life-affirming musical moments.”

illustration by Sam Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Force3 Named Official Mask of MLB Players, Inc.

Force3 Pro Gear, which has a mission of developing the safest protective gear available for catchers and umpires, today announced it will be recognized as an “Official Catcher’s Mask Partner of MLB Players, Inc.”  

The designation by MLB Players, Inc., the business arm of the Major League Baseball Players Association, underscores that Force3 Pro Gear is fast establishing itself as one of baseball’s premier catcher’s equipment companies. Since Tyler Flowers of the Atlanta Braves first wore a Force3 mask in 2016, several other Major Leaguers have followed, including Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal, who is also an investor in the company.  

With its revolutionary patented S3 Shock Suspension System technology, Force3’s unique line of masks reduces frontal impacts by absorbing energy that otherwise would be transmitted back through the head. Force3’s masks have been independently tested with speeds over 100 mph and at NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) approved test labs to ensure the performance exceeds mask standards.

“I created this mask technology out of necessity after being violently struck by a foul ball to my chin while umpiring in the minor leagues,” said Force3 Pro Gear President and Founder Jason Klein. “The S3 technology absorbs impacts like no other mask, reducing injuries and giving Players and umpires the best chance of not being seriously injured.”  

“Ensuring the safety and wellness of Players is at the forefront of all that we do, and we admire Force3 Pro Gear’s mission to manufacture safe equipment for catchers and umpires,” MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark said.     

Klein founded Force3 Pro Gear and created the patented S3 Technology after recognizing a need to improve sport equipment during his 10 years as a minor league umpire. The Milford, Conn.-based company is committed to reducing the number of concussion,s and other sports injuries and extending the careers of athletes and officials by revolutionizing their protective equipment. 

 As part of the agreement, MLB Players, Inc. will also become a shareholder in the company.

Vaccine illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Vaccination Proof × Sports Venues

More Than Half of Americans Want Vaccine Proof, Social Distancing and Masks as Sports Venues Move to Full Capacity

Among Sports Fans 60 Percent Favor Vaccine Requirement for Event Attendance; 72 Percent Want Social Distancing Sections

As many states move to “reopen” and allow full capacity at sports venues, sports fans and the general public seemingly remain cautious about event attendance without proof of vaccination, the wearing of masks and/or social distancing.

These were the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted May 21-24 geographically spread across the United States using a national representative sample weighted according to gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. The Poll surveyed 1,554 adult respondents with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent.

Social Distance Seating
A rather large number – 68 percent of the general population, 72 percent of self-described sports fans and 77 percent of avid fans – favored designated areas within venues to separate those who wished to maintain social distance seating.

Proof of Vaccination
As to a requirement by sports teams that attendees of sporting events show proof of vaccination, 53 percent of the general population agreed. The number went up to 60 percent in favor of such a requirement among sports fans and to 71 percent for avid fans. 

Masks
As for wearing masks while attending sporting events, it was 52 percent of the general population in favor of this requirement, while 56 percent of sports fans and 59 percent of avid fans agreed.

The respondents who disagreed with these precautionary requirements at sporting event venues were comparatively low. For special sections, it was 18-17-15 percent (general public, sports fans, avid fans); for vaccination proof, 32-29-20 percent disagreeing, and for mask wearing, 32-33-30 percent disagreeing.

Fans Who Would Attend Sporting Events with Vaccine, PPE and Social Distancing Up 7%

Among the general public this question received a modest uptick of just one percent (from 50 to 51 percent) since it was asked last month. However, among sports fans the positive response rose seven points to 69 percent who said they would be willing to attend an outdoor sporting event with vaccine, PPE and social distancing – the largest jump in positive responses since the vaccine rollout (as illustrated in table below).

November 2020 – May 2021: If you were to receive the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, would you attend…A live outdoor sporting event in-person, with personal protection equipment (PPE), socially distancing measures, and restricted attendance?

This is a significant indicator of the trend to return,”said Charles Grantham, director of the Center for Sport Management within Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business. “Sports fans seem cautiously optimistic, but also seem to favor precautions regardless of the official relaxation of restrictions over the last month.”

For indoor attendance, what was 42 percent (general population), 56 percent (sports fans) and 26 percent (nonfans), is now 43-59-21 percent respectively.    

Full House?
 Perhaps consistent with the overall call for caution, when asked if leagues and teams should allow full capacity fan attendance in their stadiums without any mention of precautionary measures in the question, 46 percent of the public said yes, with 36 percent opposed. Among sports fans the number in favor rose to 54 percent (33 percent opposed), but still lagged by 15 percent those who said they would attend with vaccination, PPE and social distancing.

“Fifteen percentage points is a margin worth noting, and the leagues would be wise to take heed of the concerns of their customers,” said Seton Hall Marketing Professor and Poll Methodologist Daniel Ladik. “The ‘new normal’ appears to be a cautious one.”

ABOUT THE POLL

The Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted regularly since 2006, is performed by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. This poll was conducted online by YouGov Plc. using a national representative sample weighted according to gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S residents. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, NPR, Yahoo Finance, Fox News and many points in between. 

Brooklyn Art Studio illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Blank Slate Exhibition

Blank Slate’s Inaugural Summer Exhibition Series

Location and Timing

The Series will run from June 10 through July 18, 2021. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday from 6pm – 10pm and Saturday – Sunday from 1pm – 10pm. Artists will be present during the opening reception of each exhibition. Blank Slate is located at 283 47th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220.

How to Attend

Please contact Jennifer Spencer to make an appointment. To secure tickets, visit Blank Slate Exhibitions.

SCHEDULE

MASKS by Spencer Flores and Maxwell Sykes

June 10 – June 18

MASKS examines the shared experiences and the psychology of hiding behind a mask. The compositions and subject matter of the work speak to communal experiences of feeling disconnected as we emerge from the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Maxwell Sykes is a Los Angeles-based painter who focuses on oil painting and draws inspiration from color and figure. Maxwell learned basic skills from working with his father’s construction company in South Central LA at the age of 13. His work can be found on Instagram.

Spencer Flores, a Mexican American artist, is influenced by his obsession with music and music videos and an endless fascination with comics, cartoons, and film. Ren & Stimpy is one of his biggest influences when it comes to storytelling and exaggerated art styles. As an artist, he is constantly in search of the nostalgia of his youth. His work can be found on Instagram.

Everyday Goddess by Liliana Rasmussen

June 24 – June 27

Liliana Rasmussen is a Brooklyn-based artist from the West Coast whose work emphasizes feminine energy and agency and seeks to capture the beauty of women of color. A multi-disciplinary artist, she also creates tufted rugs, mirrors, and wall pieces. Her work can be found at Lily & Papaya and on Instagram

Rise of a Movement: BLM by Divine Williams

July 1 – July 10

Divine Williams, a Trinidadian photographer based in Brooklyn, has been documenting the evolving Black Lives Matter movement for more than seven years. This exhibit features her collection “We March for our Brother” (Trayvon Martin, 2013); “Uprising in Ferguson” (Michael Brown, 2014); “Memorial of Sterling” (Alton Sterling, 2016); and “The Last Straw” (George Floyd, 2020). Her work can be found on Instagram.

Faces and Memories by Frida Vargas

July 15 – July 18

Frida’s artwork evokes emotions drawn from experiences in the journey of her life, reflected in colors and abstract shapes. About “Faces and Memories,” Frida has [said / written]:

Sometimes the journey is tough. So much so that as a result of the pandemic, I learned the hard way that people aren´t forever, but art is. Unfortunately, I’ve lost loved ones, I’ve even lost myself. Life, despite everything, is astounding and unexpected, and we must accept it as such. In these difficult events, painting was the only way I could cope with these tragic circumstances, and it has been quite an experience. So, in this collection, I´m taking the human form by a different approach. What does it mean? The rest is up to you.

Born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, Frida is an artist and architect. In her works, she experiments with a wide range of different techniques, especially oil on canvas. Her paintings can be described as abstract and colorful compositions. Frida’s work can be found on Instagram.

For more information about the inaugural Summer Exhibition Series, visit Blank Slate.

Kayaking illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

What’s Trending in Tennessee

What’s New, Trending and Blooming this Spring in Tennessee

  • Memphis – Memphis Zoo’s all-new Kangazoo Experience lets you get face-to-face with kangaroos roaming free in the walk-through exhibit. Visitor favorites also include giraffe-feeding, the panda exhibit and Sting Ray Cove.
  • Jackson – Discover what makes Jackson a unique place for music lovers of all backgrounds whether you’re looking for new eclectic sounds, blues and gospel, country music or more with live performances of Jackson’s Hidden Tracks.
  • Nashville – Enjoy premiere shopping, world-class dining, live music and views of downtown at Fifth + Broadway. This 300,000 square foot multi-level mecca is a must-see and home to the National Museum of African American Musicand Assembly Food Hall featuring two dozen restaurants on multiple levels.
  • Columbia – The Mulehouse is a 55,000 square feet new music and event venue located a few blocks from the downtown square, established by country radio personality and broadcaster, Blair Garner.
  • Manchester – A brand new concert series features live, in-person performances in a socially-distanced setting at the Bonnaroo Farm. Concerts on the Farm includes performances by Billy Strings, Jon Pardy, Jameson Rodgers, The Avett Brothers and more.
  • Chattanooga – Grab your thinking caps, maps and don’t forget your mask. Take adventure to the next level. Learn more about Chattanooga’s top attractions and neighborhoods during the Spring Break Safari Scavenger Hunt.
  • Knoxville – Three levels of magical crystal barrooms wait to be discovered in downtown Knoxville. Bernadette’sbarrooms include the Knox County Quartz House, the Amethyst Lounge, and a stunning rooftop of Crystal Gardens.
  • Gatlinburg – Anakeesta will be in full bloom with the launch of Blooms and Tunes featuring colorful nature-themed art installations, live music and a new spring-themed menu at four restaurants in the park.
  • Townsend – The Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Festival Noon-10 p.m. May 22 includes live music, vendors, food trucks, bigfoot competitions, oral histories, 1-mile fun run and more at the Townsend Visitor’s Center.
  • Johnson City – Grab a scavenger hunt clue card online or from a downtown business to search for 15 bronze animal sculptures as part of Wildabout Walkabout Scavenger Hunt from the public library and King Commons Park to Main and Market Streets.

New Restaurants, Breweries and Distilleries

  • Memphis – Renowned chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are at it again, this time with their Little Bettie pizza joint inside Wiseacre’s newly opened downtown taproom.
  • Clarksville – The Thirsty Goat is a newer gathering place outside of the city that features a beer garden, artisan coffee shop and oven-fired pizzas.
  • Murfreesboro – Biscuit-based meals made baked fresh daily are at the forefront of Maple Street Biscuit Co. Jams and jellies are also made in-store. Featured on Food Network, The Squawking Goat dish is an all-natural fried chicken breast, fried goat cheese medallion and house-made pepper jelly atop a flaky biscuit.
  • Columbia – Wolf and Scout Coffee Car is located in the Columbia Arts Building serving varieties of coffees and their signature drink, the Wolfhunter.
  • Carthage – Cajun wings, honey BBQ wings, onion rings, fries and delicious sides are on tap at Something 2 Wing About.
  • Farragut – 35 North, located in the heart of Farragut, features the area’s best food trucks, local brews, wine and spirits and features two patios, an outdoor fireplace and a place for gathering.
  • LaFollette – Twin Flame features amazing hot dogs, burgers, wings, catfish, specialty drinks and much more with carry-out and dining room seating available.
  • Wartburg – The MoCo Brewing Project is Morgan County’s latest brewery and coffee shop with signature beers named and influenced by local landmarks. The owners brew beer, coffee and offer flavored coffee and hot chocolate.
  • Sevierville – Tennessee Shine Co.uses family recipes and small-batch distilling, features a tasting bar and Moonshine Tour.
  • Johnson City – Watauga Brewing Company is a three story brewery, restaurant and rooftop bar. Restaurant On 2 combines upscale New American cuisine with Appalachian and southern roots. The chef uses local, seasonal foods in her menu. 

New Attractions and Exhibits

  • Memphis –Visitors can enjoy movie nights and world-renowned musicians in an all-new outdoor setting at The Grove at GPAC.
  • Memphis – Graceland celebrates the 50 anniversary King of Rock ‘n’ Roll meeting then President Richard Nixon with a special pop-up exhibit and artifacts with Dear Mr. President: Elvis and Mr. Nixon.
  • Nashville – Once Upon a Spring at Gaylord Opryland includes a live story time show, art activities, cookie decorating, scavenger hunt, boat rides and other fun programming.
  • Knoxville – Zoo Knoxville’s The ARC (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Campus), open spring 2021, will showcase the zoo’s pioneering conservation work with these species and feature revolutionary STEM education resources.
  • Johnson City – Paradise Acresis a family farm park with an 18-hole mini-golf course, outdoor laser tag, barn-side drive-in theater and U-Pick produce.

New Hotels & Places to Stay

  • Memphis – Walk the line between southern hospitality, offbeat and elevated cuisine to get a genuine taste of Midtown’s unconventional personality, storied art district and Overton Square at The Memphian, set to open April 2021.
  • Memphis – Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis is within walking distance of the city’s famed entertainment district, nestled in a vibrant neighborhood known for lauded music venues, historic landmarks, southern comfort and Memphis-style barbecue.
  • Nashville – W Hotel Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of the Gulch. Opening spring 2021 with 346 rooms, the new hotel will welcome visitors with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces.
  • Pigeon Forge – Pigeon Forge RV Resort along the Little Pigeon River includes 149 RV sites, camping, riverside fishing, illuminated river walk. On-property offerings include on-site concierge services, a pool, and hot tub, playground, picnic pavilion, a dog park, golf cart rentals, a retail store, conference room, gym, and laundry facilities.

New Stores

  • Columbia – Columbia features several new stores including Cope (in the Columbia Arts Building with a variety of trendy plants), family-owned jewelry store Tillis Jewelry on the downtown square and Southern Clutter Boutique with a variety of clothing, accessories, home goods and crafts.
  • Farragut – Euphoric Cheese features cut-to-order cheeses from all around the world, a wide variety of charcuterie items, specialty groceries and a selection of local brews. Items such as chocolate-covered figs, blue cheese stuffed olives, creamed honey and rosemary crackers will make your grazing board memorable.
  • Kingston – That Local Cheeseboard Co.features handcrafted charcuterie boards & boxes, grazing tables, customizable boxes, corporate catering, and gifts and items for special occasions.

Hot/Trending Places for Spring

  • Hornbeak – Vacation while you dine at Blue Bank Fishhouse & Grill at Blue Bank Resort with delicious weekend specials, local craft beer, live music, fire pits, butterfly garden & front row seating to a beautiful sunset on Reelfoot Lake.
  • Alamo – Drive through the 5.5 miles of safari roads in your own car, interact and feed animals at Tennessee Safari Park. After the journey, experience the walk-through zoo, enjoy refreshments at the concessions, the playground area, and the petting zoo.
  • Clarksville – Downtown at Sundown Concerts at Downtown Commons includes free live music the first and third Friday nights May through October. The large urban outdoor park allows space to socially distance with your chairs or blanket.
  • Linden – Experience serenity on the water. Commodore River Adventures offers an uncrowded, individual or small-group, artisan kayaking experience.
  • Nashville – Celebrate spring, warmer weather and longer days with more than 150,000 blooming bulbs and fun seasonal activities during Cheekwood in Bloom.
  • Nashville – Board the General Jackson Showboat, one of Gaylord Opryland’s most popular attractions, for cruises featuring first-class live entertainment, delicious meals and gorgeous views of Nashville.
  • LaFollette – Chapman Hill Winery is a quaint winery with an elegant tasting room nestled in the hills of East Tennessee on the edge of Norris Lake. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the Vineyard Vibrations live music series.
  • Farragut – Enjoy a stroll through town, a heritage trail, cemetery and educational sites to learn history of the area, pioneer settlements and more through artifacts, photos and stories during the Farragut History Walk.
  • Harriman – Lakeshore Park offers recreation fun for the family and is home to the Gupton Wetlands area, where at least 114 species of birds can be found. Bring bikes, kayaks, fishing poles and enjoy scenery and trails.
  • Lancing – Lilly Hopyard Brewery is tucked away in the woods near the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Warm up around the campfire, watch the game, play corn hole, listen to live music and enjoy the Sauced Frog eatery.
  • Winchester – Stroll with family and friends during Food Truck Fridays at the downtown Farmers Market Pavilion on the Boulevard. Downtown merchants will stay open late on the first Friday of every month.
  • Johnson City – At the 40-acre Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park, riders can experience the thrill of off-road riding from the gnarly, rocky downhill of the Black Diamond to smooth dirt paths on the green trails.
  • Pigeon Forge – Explore larger-than-life plant sculptures adorned in half-a-million colorful flower blooms, dance under an Umbrella Sky and indulge in garden-fresh flavors from chefs during Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival.

Spring Festivals & Events

  • Gatlinburg (March 18-20) – Explore the new Gatlinburg St. Patrick’s Day Celebration complete with traditional Irish music, food, fireworks, and more. The city will be decorated with Shamrock green and feature fireworks show at 10 p.m. Friday at the Space Needle.
  • Bell Buckle (March 20) – The historic town adapts Daffodil Days to include a tree seedling give away, spring bulbs vendors on the square, spring items in stores, and a book signing by beloved former Tennessee Poet Laureate Maggi Vaugn.
  • Chattanooga (March 20-21) – Come see the High Falls flow green during Shamrock City at Rock City featuring Irish food, specialty beer from Chattanooga Brewing Co., bagpipers, pop-up Irish dance performers, and virtual scavenger hunt.
  • Linden (March 26-27) – The Blooming Arts Festival mixes fine arts, local craftsmanship, performances and fantastic local eats. Masks and social distancing recommended. Sanitization stations will be up on Main Street.
  • Pigeon Forge (March 26-28) – Cowboy cooks circle the wagons for the one-of-a-kind outdoor Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff that features chuck wagons–the original food trucks. Attendees can sample the offerings at lunch.
  • Murfreesboro (March 29-April 2) – Looking for a fun and safe way to kick off spring? Stop by the Discovery Center for Mess Fest. Get creative and messy with free outdoor activities such as making oobleck, elephant toothpaste and more.
  • Spring Hill (April 2) – Grammy Award Winner Casting Crowns performs a socially distancing family-friendly drive-in concert 7 p.m. at RippavillaTickets benefit the Well Outreach Food Pantry.
  • Crossville (April 2-June 24) – Cumberland County Playhouse kicks off its 2021 spring season with productions like Clue on Stage, The Savannah Sipping Society, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now and Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.
  • Savannah (April 3) – The 9th Annual Generals Breakfast kicks off at 9 a.m. at Cherry Mansion with an outdoor breakfast, storytelling program and a Q&A by the homeowners. Tickets are $15. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.
  • Murfreesboro (April 23) – Travis Tritt with special guest Frank Foster takes the stage at 7 p.m. at Hop Springs Beer Park. There’s live music every weekend at the family & dog-friendly park with food and a huge selection of craft beers on tap.
  • Harriman (May 1) – The May Day Craft and Antique Fair will have vendors that display handmade crafts, vintage items and antiques, food vendors, live entertainment and classic car show.
  • Granville (May 1) – The Cornbread & Moonshine Festival features whiskey tastings, cornbread tasting, food, music, and craftsmen. Admission is $5. The new Whiskey Decanter Museum also opens with over 3,000 whiskey decanters.
  • Cookeville (May 1) – Cookeville Storyfest 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the big tent in Dogwood Park includes headliners Andy Offutt Irwin and Minton Sparks, and an amateur storytelling competition.
  • Tellico Plains (May 1) – The Tellico Trout Festival 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. downtown gathers fishermen, river sports enthusiasts and families for fun, education, food, entertainment and outfitter services.
  • Gatlinburg (May 1-3) – Guests can begin a creative journey in crafts, woodworking, basket weaving, jewelry making and more during Hands on Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Register in advance before workshops sell out.
  • Pigeon Forge (May 5-8) – Textile art and techniques to stitch quilts are on display at Pigeon Forge’s A Mountain Quiltfest. Guests can register for instructional classes. The free quilt exhibit and vendor hall are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the LeConte Center.
  • Sweetwater (May 7-8) – Head to Historic Downtown Sweetwater for the Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival with live music, barbecue competition, vendors, picker’s corner, kids’ zone and fun activities.
  • Smithville (May 8) – Center Hill Lake Fest 4-10 p.m. at The Burlap Room Beer Garden and Dispensary features plenty of space to socially-distance while enjoying food from local food trucks, craft beer and local vendors. Please wear a mask in vendor and restroom lines. Tickets for the kid and pet-friendly event start at $20.
  • Rugby (May 8) – Raise a cup to Queen Victoria during the Queen’s Tea at Historic Rugby. The festive tea will include sandwiches, scones and dessert. Tickets are $22.
  • Wartburg (May 15) – The Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival is filled with music, food, exhibits, creative arts, crafts, a car show and 24 designated scenic trails 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. around courthouse square.
  • Harriman (May 22-23, May 29-31) – Join a weekend of fun with costume contests, pirate Olympics, treasure hunts, get a picture with a mermaid or scallywag or shop the merchant village for unique treasures at the 5th Annual Tennessee Pirate Fest.
  • Bell Buckle (May 29) – Load up the car and go on an adventure in Historic Bell Buckle geocaching for prizes 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the Bell Buckle Car Cache and Pig Bash. Registration information can be found here.
  • Donelson (May-October) – Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, shop from local vendors, listen to live music and stroll through the historic grounds of Two Rivers Mansion Fridays 4-7 p.m. during the outdoor Hip Donelson Farmers Market.

For a complete list of what’s happening in Tennessee, visit the calendar on the website.  

COVID 19 by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine, Covid Travel restriction

Coronavirus Mutations × U.S. Travel Restrictions

By: Emily Bunn

A breaking news article featured in The New York Times announced that the United States will be imposing a mandatory requirement for negative COVID-19 test results from all incoming, international travelers. The requirement for proof of a negative test in order to fly will begin Tuesday, January 25th.

The CDC has ordered for all travelers to provide proof of a negative test taken no more than 3 days before their travels. Without documentation of a negative test or documentation of recovery supplemented with a letter from a health care provider or public health official, passengers will be prohibited to fly.

The United States is not the only country to be putting in place tighter travel regulations. Due to new mutations of the virus, many countries are adopting stricter border protocol. The New York Times reports:

“Even as the United States moved to impose travel restrictions, citing the danger of the fast-moving variants, a case of the variant spreading in Brazil was identified in Minnesota.”

Variations of the virus in Brazil and South Africa, due to international travel, both pose the threat of COVID-19 mutating. If the virus does mutate, it is potential that the new strain of such will be unreactive to current vaccination efforts.

The New York Times reports that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an adviser to President Biden, has commented: “With the world travel that you have, and the degree of transmissibility efficiency, it’s not surprising.” Further, President Biden has broadcasted a ban on travel by all non-citizens into the United States from South Africa, the U.K., Ireland, and 26 other European countries.

An article published today on AP News reported that in attempts to increase vaccination efforts, President Biden announced that his administration is planning to purchase 100 million doses of each of the approved coronavirus vaccines–Pfizer and Moderna. Vaccination deliveries to states will be surged for the next three weeks. The Biden administration has announced that they plan to vaccinate 300 million citizens by the end of summer, as reported by The New York Times.

The President, in a White House briefing on January 26th, commented on importance of increasing vaccination supplies to help Americans:

“And to a nation waiting for action, let me be clearest on this point: Help is on the way.  We can do this if we come together, if we listen to the scientists.”

These efforts come at an especially critical time, as the global number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 100 million, reports The Wall Street Journal. However, that has been recent speculation regarding the accuracy of that number. In New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration has been accused of undercounting the amount of coronavirus deaths that occurred at nursing homes. A report released by Letitia James, the Attorney General of New York, shows that the coronavirus death count appears to have been cut by approximately 50 percent. The report compares the number of facility deaths publicized by the Department of Health–1,229 deaths, versus the number of facility deaths reported the Office of Attorney General–1,914 deaths. This staggering discrepancy between reported deaths has spurred suspicion against Cuomo, and the Office of Attorney General (OAG) is conducting an on-going investigation concerning the cause of these variances.

However, there is still hope. In Los Angeles, Governor Gavin Newsom rescinded the county’s stay-at-home order this past Monday, reports The Los Angeles Times. This new jurisdiction will allow for all counties in California to return to the four-tier, colored-coded system of assessing coronavirus risk. Lifting the imposed stay-at-home order could allow for the reopening of personal care services and outdoor dining. While LA has been particularly hard hit by coronavirus, the city actually has a higher vaccination rate than most other comparable cities in the U.S. The New York Times reports that “83 percent of the doses the city has received have been administered, compared with 74 percent in New York City; 52 percent in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio; and 58 percent of the doses ordered in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.”

While the coronavirus situation is still being closely tracked and monitored, hospitalizations and the number of patients in ICUs have been steadily declining. With hospitalizations at their national lowest since December 13th and an increase in vaccination efforts, there is progress to be recognized, despite current setbacks and uncertainties.

Despite progress in vaccination efforts and decreasing corona virus cases, new virus mutations pose critical cause for concern. In countries across the Asia-Pacific region, a new, more infectious variant–the Delta variant–is causing stay-at-home orders to be again put into place. This new variant was first identified in India, and has quickly been spreading. As restrictions begin yet again, countries across the globe are grappling with the harrowing fate that the pandemic is far from over.

In some major Australian cities, such as Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Darwin, residents have been forced into strict lockdowns. Flights are even being banned due to the new threat, with Hong Kong barring British entry. Indefinite stay-at-home orders were extended by the Malaysian government on Monday. In Malaysia, the new variant is especially threatening, as only 6% of the country’s residents are fully vaccinated, reports the New York Times.

India has faced a devastating, major second wave of coronavirus due to the Delta Plus variant, a sub-lineage of the Delta variant. This past spring, the dangerous variant caused thousands of deaths per day, and forced residents into partial stay-at-home orders, yet again. Much like in Malaysia, in India only 5% of the population is fully vaccinated. In fear of a third wave of the virus, Maharashtra’s chief minister, Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, has authorized the use of a fourth vaccine in an attempt to increase vaccination supplies.

In good news, the Covid-19 vaccination is largely effective against the new Delta variant. However, this Delta variant is 50 percent more contagious than several of the other variants of concern, such as the Alpha variant.

As countries continue reopening, people look toward high vaccination rates to change the coronavirus game. In the U.S. and Britain, officials are planning to, or already have, lift most pandemic restrictions. White House secretary, Jen Psaki, recently announced that the United States would send two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Peru. Additionally, the U.S. looks to send 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan. A third shipment of 1.5 million Moderna vaccination doses will be sent to Honduras from the United States.

Looking ahead to this weekend, July 30-Aug 1, 2021, the return of  a major musical festival threatens a super-spreader event. The highly infectious variant of COVID-19 has again created a surge in the number of recent coronavirus cases. As festival fans migrate to Chicago for Lollapalooza – the first of which held since 2019 – the Windy City braces for the potentially devastating impact.

Fortunately, the festival is taking several precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. All attendees must be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of event entry. However, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that not all guests will be honest about meeting these requirements.

The head of the BBB, Steve Bernas, warns of the potential for festival scammers who fabricate fake vaccine cards and negative test results. “We anticipate a double whammy this year not only the tickets but also the vaccine cards,” Bernas said in a statement. “The scammers will be out in full force.” He continues, cautioning ticket buyers to be on high-alert: “Just like finding tickets, there are countless ways for consumers to find vaccinations cards online, with online marketplaces, ticket sellers, resellers and the like…and unfortunately, some of them are rip-offs”

One of Chicago’s top coronavirus experts, Dr. Emily Landon, also weighed in on the weekend’s festivities. She argues that Lollapalooza’s 72-hour testing window is too lenient, and that the city is inviting in a massive spike of cases by holding the concert. NBC Chicago reports that Dr. Emily Landon commented, “Lolla has let us down with respect to how vigorously they’re restricting people based on the things that they sort of initially told us (about how) ‘we’re going to be really strict’ and now it’s like they’ve lightened up quite considerably on checking vaccines and negative tests.”

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady expressed concerns similar to Dr. Emily Landon’s. Recognizing the importance of getting vaccinated, she commented the following in a coronavirus update last week: “We want people to have a good time and we want this to be as safe as it can be…And so certainly we’ll be watching that just as we do any other gathering, but I am more concerned about the many people who have not chosen the COVID vaccine.”

Still, Chicago’s mayor and top doctor still haven’t wavered their support for the much-loved music festival. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed her desire the event to occur as safely as possible, though she didn’t comment on the recent uptick in case numbers and coronavirus hospitalizations. NBC 5 Chicago reports on the current coronavirus statistics in the city:

“Chicago’s average daily number of new cases rose to 130 per day early Monday – a 76% jump compared to last week. The city’s average daily case rate was at 90 per day last week and 41 per day the week before that, meaning it’s more than tripled in roughly three weeks. However, it is still significantly lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city was seeing earlier this year and last, before vaccines were widely available.”

Additional safety measures, including mandatory mask-wearing on public transport, will also be enforced. The Chicago Transit Authority is offering reduced ticket rates this weekend for Lollapalooza travelers.

As Summer winds down, COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise yet again. Several virus variants, including the new Lambda variant, are causing major concern among Americans. In an attempt to quell concern, several cities have launched vaccine passport programs.

Across the United States, metropolitan hubs including New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans are requiring residents to show proof of vaccination before entering indoor spaces. That means that visiting gyms, concerts, restaurants, and more will require citizens to have both of their required vaccination shots. Vaccine passports are not being put in place to stop public gatherings, but are intended to creater safer enviroments outside of one’s home.

However, many Americans are opting to stay indoors yet again, thanks to new variant threats. The Lambda variant, which was first detected in Peru and is quckly spreading through South America, is causing concern among citizens. The New York Times reports that “On June 14, the World Health Organization designated it as a “variant of interest,” meaning, essentially, that experts suspect it could be more dangerous than the original strain.

However, it has been reported that the Lambda variant is likely not as contagious as other deadly virus mutuations, like the Delta variant. And fortunately, the Lambda variant is able to be combatted by the vaccines that have currently rolled out across the U.S. The New York Times records the climbing numbers of the Lambda variant, “As of mid-June, Lambda had been reported in 29 countries, territories or areas, according to a June 15 update from the W.H.O. The variant had been detected in 81 percent of coronavirus samples sequenced in Peru since April, and 31 percent of those in Chile to date, the agency said.” However, assessing the virus has been difficult due to Latin America’s limited ability to conduct geonomic surveillance and follow-up laboratory studies, reports the NYT. Scientists and medical professionals around the world are currently conducting research to better understand this new variant and its implications.

HotelPlanner’s Delta Variant Coverage:

America’s comeback is in jeopardy. The Delta variant is surging, prompting concerns that we need another lockdown. Travel executives are already huddling, discussing potential next steps to both protect guests and their businesses’ bottom lines. Americans were traveling in record numbers, and people are wondering if this could slow down the sector. How could the Delta variant, and other emerging variants, impact travel?

“We are watching the rapid uptick in Delta variant case infections closely, says Tim Hentschel, Co-Founder and CEO of HotelPlanner. “Although some families may choose to curtail their summer travel plans, we remain confident that the vast majority of Americans who were planning to travel this summer will keep their plans, while exercising more caution with crowds and destination selection. For those who are already vaccinated, the Delta variant shouldn’t be a deterrent to summer travel because they should be protected.”

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HotelPlanner is a leading travel technology company that combines proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, and a 24/7 global gig-based reservations and customer service network, to quickly and seamlessly serve all traveler hotel & accommodation needs from a single platform.

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Founded in 2004, HotelPlanner has enduring partnerships with the world’s largest Online Travel Agencies, well-known hotel chains, individual hotels, online wedding providers, ancillary lodging providers, corporations, sports franchises, universities, and government agencies.

Sweden Tourism Photography Credits to Martin Edström

Visit Sweden’s Healing Through Nature

Lockdowns, isolation, and working from home have caused elevated levels of stress for many people: 45% of Americans say they experience anxiety because of the pandemic, according to a UN report. But there are ways to alleviate the stress. Research shows that spending time in nature lowers stress levels – one of the many benefits of grabbing a few minutes to enjoy some greenery or planning a getaway in the great outdoors.

The positive effects were tested through Visit Sweden’s very own initiative, “The 72-Hour Cabin.” With participants from major cities who had demanding jobs, participants were examined before and after spending three consecutive days in the Swedish countryside where they slept in glass cabins next to water. The study proved that being outdoors surrounded only by nature dramatically reduced negative emotions and lowered stress levels.

In Sweden, 70% of the country is covered with forest, and nature is easy to reach, with open fields and meadows, old-growth forests, quiet lakes, miles of coastlines, and thousands of islands. Swedes have a unique Freedom to Roam, The Right of Public Access (‘Allemansrätt’), which maintains that everyone has the right to walk, cycle, ride, ski and camp on any land. With this, it is no wonder Swedes maintain an unusually close relationship to nature and draw from the healing power of spending time outside.

“Natural environments are an important resource for meeting the health challenges in our society. Research shows that time spent outdoors reduces negative emotions and stress, and promotes positive emotions, mental recovery, and performance,” says Cecilia Stenfors, a researcher at the Aging Research Center at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and the University of Chicago, USA.

As nature experiences are an effective way to provide a bit of normality after months of pandemic-related stress, anxiety, and loneliness. Below are five ways to incorporate a bit of green in your life, as illustrated by the Swedes:

  • You only need twenty minutes in nature to reduce stress, so there is no excuse not to pop outside for a few moments, even a lunch time walk will help clear your mind.
  • Boost your mental health by taking your meal outside. Swedes dine al fresco nearly all year round and enjoy foraging in nature’s own pantry. For inspiration, check out Visit Sweden’s outdoor dining and do-it-yourself cooking concept, Edible Country.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities like the Swedes with cooking, hiking, canoeing, and mountain biking, all of which have proven long-lasting effects on their well-being.
  • According to a meta-analysis from the University of East Anglia, published in Environmental Research, nature can lower your blood pressure, cortisol, and heart rate. For those living in cities, even surrounding yourself with indoor plants or even gazing at pictures or videos of nature can be soothing. 
  • When the time is right, book a trip to enjoy Sweden’s lush landscape and stay high up in the Tree Hotel, or experience a glass cabin, house boat, or maybe even a lighthouse.
Mask illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Coronavirus Awareness Through Art

By Mina Tocalini

Graphic designers, illustrators and all artists alike unite against the Coronavirus pandemic with creative messages of hope and safety. Open calls for creatives were presented by the United Nations, Amplifier, and others back in April for innovative designs and infographics. The Erase Covid community was formed in light of this as well and established a partnership with MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund  to help raise money for artists and musicians. While the Viral Art Project continues to invite artists via social media to submit Coronavirus awareness posters. 

The images created express gratitude for our health workers, safety tips, awareness and more throughout the pandemic, highlighting art’s power to connect and communicate. The Smithsonian Magazine reported how creativity continues on the street, as graffiti artists take their Coronavirus art directly to the public with images centered on increasing privatization, surveillance, increasing marginalization, corporatization, housing issues that have become more prevalent during the crisis. This pandemic has not only brought tragedy to our lives as we watch the death toll increase, but it has also illuminated the ineffective and injustice systems in place in this country that affect the poor, minorities and immigrants. With this in mind, we can turn to art to project our voice towards progress.

Art has always been at the forefront of communication and throughout this pandemic, creativity has triumphed, leaving us with hope for the social limitations in place and the future of this pandemic. If you are an artist, or looking to become one, or even just starting a new hobby, turn to this pandemic with a creative eye. Make art on proper hygiene practice, social distancing, social isolation, virtual communication, the importance of masks, social injustice, economic disparity, current politics or any other topic that coronavirus has impacted in our daily lives. Share your art on social media and stay connected, together we can help save lives and move our country forward.  

Expand your design/art community further on Talent House, Behance, DeviantArt and Dribble.

Additionally, 360 Magazine accepts Illustrated Editorials, if you are interested contact us HERE.

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banging gavel illustration

Georgia Governor Sues Atlanta Mayor

By Eamonn Burke

Amidst a large spike in Covid-19 cases across the United States, the governor of Georgia has sued the mayor of Atlanta, a hotspot for the virus. The lawsuit, filed yesterday, is filed against the mayor for mandating strict health measures, meaning masks. Governor Brian Kemp (R) claims that the mayor’s “disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihood of our citizens.” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D), accepted the decision, saying “We’ll see him in court.” She also suggested that the governor had crossed a line with this challenge.

This comes as Georgia’s cases and deaths are rising, reaching numbers that the state has not yet seen since the pandemic began. It is evidence of a growing political polarization surrounding masks and other Covid-related health measures. Governor Kemp claims legal authority to set state-wide measures, while Mayor Bottoms defends her actions as following the course recommended by health experts.

The two also disagree on re-opening measures, as Kemp opened Georgia before any other state, when even President Trump thought it was “too soon.” Mayor Bottoms, however, is pushing for Georgia to return to phase one of re-opening. Kemp dismissed it as a “recommendation”, and extended his own executive order to overrule any local mandates for masks.

“While we all agree that wearing a mask is effective, I’m confident that Georgians don’t need a mandate to do the right thing,” the governor said at a news conference yesterday.