Georgia restaurants allowed to reopen as restrictions loosen

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s reopening is set to continue when movie theatres can welcome customers and limited in-restaurant dining may resume in a loosening of coronavirus restrictions.

This comes after other businesses, including barbershops, gyms and nail salons were allowed to start seeing customers last Friday. While many gratefully opened their doors after a monthlong closure, others did not feel ready yet and remained shuttered.

A similar mixed response is expected for the businesses allowed to reopen.

Governor Brian Kemp last week announced he was relaxing restrictions despite health experts’ warnings of a potential surge in infections and disapproval from United States (US) President Donald Trump.

Kemp released 39 requirements that restaurants must follow if they reopen, including a limit of 10 customers per 500 square feet and employees wearing face coverings “at all times”. Movie theatre ushers were ordered to enforce social distancing.

The shutdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus caused tremendous damage to the economy, and the governor said it was time to start letting people get back to work. But public health experts said a spike in new cases could follow if reopening happens too quickly.

Trump, who also stressed the need to get the economy chugging again, said last week Kemp’s plan was too much too fast. The president specifically said spas, beauty salons and barber shops should not reopen immediately.

A barber wears a mask and cuts the hair of customer as others wait in Atlanta, Georgia. PHOTO: AP