On Thursday night, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a state executive order, reopening the state in effect, starting Friday. VOX ATL took a read through the controversial order to examine the specifics of how the governor plans to reopen the state. Here’s what, specifically, will have an impact on Atlanta teens.
The order states that restaurants and dining rooms are permitted to resume dine-in service on Monday, April 27 but only will allow up to 10 people per 500 square feet. It also requires that workers be screened for temperatures and signs of illness. Further measures included state that restaurants should encourage to-go service and reservations. Restaurants should have an updated floor plan that allows seating arrangements to be six feet apart from each other. Congregation in restaurant bars and waiting areas is prohibited.
To the surprise of many, Governor Kemp also announced the reopening of movie theaters starting on Monday, April 27. The order details that movie theater patrons must be sitting at least six feet apart from each other. An usher must also be attendance in theaters to make sure social distancing rules are complied with. Theaters are also tasked with thoroughly cleaning individual theaters before and after movie showings. Details on how compliance will be followed was not included. Event spaces, party rooms, and arcades are not permitted to be open and must remain closed until further notice.
The reopening of bowling alleys also goes into effect starting on Friday, April 24, according to the order. Every third lane must be blocked off to allow social distancing. Scorekeepers, tables, and ball returns must be sanitized before and after each game. Spaces like arcades, event rooms, and playgrounds must be closed off. Bowling balls, an object that could contain sweat and other germs, are required to be regularly cleaned or sanitized after each use.
Not mentioned in the Executive Order
At a Monday press conference, the governor announced he would also open up gyms, salons, and barbershops. Although these industries re-opened Friday, the executive order issued by the governor had no mention or guidelines for gyms, barbershops, or salons. A separate publishing of safety guidelines for reopening salons and barbershops was later issued by the Georgia State Board of Cosmetologists and Barbers.
The guidelines encourage the usage of gloves, capes, and require face masks to be worn by all employees, and social distancing is encouraged. The guidelines also state all objects, tools, and surfaces be disinfected daily. Salons and barbershops are required to follow the guidelines. The issue states that if guidelines are violated upon inspection, the store will be subject to immediate closure. But it remained unclear how oversight or inspection would occur. The best customers can hope for is that shop owners will be as thorough and clean as possible while following all suggested state guidelines.
Re-Openings Result In Backlash
For many, the reopening of business and commerce in the state has not been a popular decision. The governor has received backlash from the likes of Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Governor Kemp’s former gubernatorial opponent, Stacey Abrams, and even from President Donald Trump, who stated in a press conference Thursday when questioned about the reopening that he “wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp.”
The number of Georgians expected to break quarantine and participate in these re-openings is unknown, but there is growing speculation that re-opening the state now might be too soon. As one of the first states to re-open, the rest of the country will be observing Georgia to see if the re-opening will affect the number of COVID-19 cases.