Georgia’s governor announced plans Monday to restart the state’s economy before the end of the week, saying many businesses that closed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus could reopen as early as Friday.
Kemp announced plans to allow gyms, bowling alleys, hair and nail salons, massage therapists and more to reopen their doors as early as Friday, April 24, if they adhere to social distancing measures and hygiene requirements.
He added that theaters, private social clubs & restaurant dine-in services can reopen on Monday, April 27.
Governor Kemp tweeted: “Due to favorable data & more testing, gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools & massage therapists can reopen Friday, April 24 with Minimum Basic Operations. #gapol.
“Minimum Basic Operations includes, but is not limited to, screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing masks & gloves if appropriate, separating workspaces by six feet, teleworking if possible & implementing staggered shifts. #gapol.
“Subject to specific social distancing & sanitation mandates, theaters, private social clubs & restaurant dine-in services will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27. We’ll release more information in the next few days. #gapol.
“Bars, nightclubs, operators of amusement park rides & live performance venues will remain closed. #gapol
“The shelter in place order is still active and expires at 11:59 PM on April 30 for most Georgians. We urge everyone to continue to follow @CDCgov & @GaDPH guidance by sheltering in place as often as you can. #gapol.”
Kemp said emergency room visits from people with flu-like symptoms are declining in Georgia, a sign that infections are down.
The news comes as the Georgia Department of Public Health reports at least 18,947 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the state, including 733 deaths.
Kemp’s announcement has been criticized by a number of people who opined that it’s not the smartest decision, considering that Coronavirus is still a threat in the state.
Several mayors in Georgia said they weren’t given any notice of the announcement and questioned the governor’s decision.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN on Monday she had not spoken with Kemp before learning of his decision to reopen businesses. Bottoms said she was concerned about the move as Georgia’s case count continues to go up and asymptomatic people or people with mild symptoms are not being tested.
Bottoms said: “We really are at a loss and I am concerned as a mother and the mayor of our capital city. I am perplexed that we have opened up in this way. … As I look at the data and as I talk with our public health officials, I don’t see that it’s based on anything that’s logical.”
However, some Georgia business owners were happy about the announcement and said they were eager to reopen their doors.