Gov. Kemp permits some doors to reopen

Published 3:35 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced at news conference on Monday the first phase of businesses allowed to reopen in the coming days, including restaurants, gyms, barbershops and other gathering spots.

According to Kemp and other representatives from the state,  signs that the spread of Coronavirus is slowing down led to the decision.

“I think this is the right approach at the right time,” said Kemp. “It’s not just throwing the keys back to business owners.”

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Gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, barbershops, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail salons, estheticians and massage therapists are among the businesses permitted to open their doors Friday. Next Monday, movie theatres and dine-in restaurants will be allowed to reopen. Churches will also be allowed to hold services inside their buildings as long as worshipers maintain safe distances from each other.

Public schools are still closed for the remainder of the school year.

Many other establishments are not permitted to reopen, including bars, night clubs, amusement parks and live-performance venues.

Kemp said the opening shuttered businesses in phases is meant to ease financial hardships for workers and business owners while giving health officials more time to increase testing and tracking programs, which will prove key once more people go back to work.

“These are tough decisions, no doubt,” Kemp said. “But we’ve also got to think about the effects on our economy and on these individuals from a mental health perspective, from a physical health perspective and literally for people being able to put food on their tables.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of 19,881 confirmed cases of Coronavirus have been reported in Georgia, hospitalizing 3,779 and killing 799.

Decatur County’s numbers are 59 confirmed cases and one death resulting from the respiratory virus.