Per the local Fox-affiliate, Gov. Kemp announced on Monday that certain non-essential businesses—including gyms/fitness centers, barbers, hairdressers, nail salons, and massage therapists—will be allowed to reopen on Friday. Gov. Kemp claims that the state will require the businesses to practice social distancing and adhere to health guidelines once these establishments start welcoming customers.
Gov. Brian Kemp: "We will allow gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, aestheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists to reopen their doors this Friday, April the 24th." pic.twitter.com/QxRbxxB1Da— The Hill (@thehill) April 20, 2020
Currently, the government has enacted a plan to reopen the United States in three phases. Gov. Kemp believes that Georgia is on pace to "meet the criteria for Phase One" because of the state's the availability of tests, hospital capacity, and contact tracing of the virus. Yet, Georgia's plan to reopen businesses on Friday is still ahead of May 1 which is the proposed starting date for the first phase.
Additionally, Georgia is No. 11 in terms of states hit hardest by the coronavirus. Per The New York Times, there are more than 1800 confirmed cases in the state leading to 726. As a result, residents have mixed emotions about Gov. Kemp's decision.
Despite the confusion, Gov. Kemp believes that this slow-start to opening up the state is necessary for Georgia's economy. While explaining his plan, he mentioned the concerns he received from the state's small business owners and farmers. Gov. Kemp said that he's "honored to serve" these residents by allowing customers to return to their establishments.
According to a report from Variety, Gov. Kemp's order doesn't mean businesses like movie theaters will be able to open their doors right away. The publication noted that AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark have furloughed nearly all of their employees and it will likely take them longer than a week to get workers back and up to speed.