Republican Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday that certain Georgia businesses, including gyms, hair and nail salons and bowling alleys, will be allowed to open Friday in a “small step forward” out of the social distancing measures meant to mitigate the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Kemp said specifically that fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair and nail salons, and massage therapy businesses can reopen as early Friday, April 24.
Theaters and restaurants will be allowed to open on Monday, April 27 while bars and night clubs will remain closed for now, he added.
CNN notes that no local ordinance can restrict the openings, which will be implemented statewide.
“In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus’ spread, today we’re announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy,” Kemp told reporters.
The move comes after similar announcements from the Republican governors of South Carolina and Tennessee after President Trump unveiled new guidelines last week meant to help states roll back some of their social distancing restrictions.
“You are going to call your own shots,” Trump had said in a conference call Thursday with governors. “I’ve gotten to know almost all of you, most of you I’ve known and some very well. You are all very capable people, I think in all cases, very capable people. And you’re going to be calling your shots.”
Citing the White House guidance Monday, Kemp said, “We appreciate their leadership and share in the President’s desire to reopen the economy and get Americans back to work.”
“As a small business person for over thirty years, I know the impact of this pandemic on hardworking Georgians in every zip code and every community,” he continued.
While the incremental reopenings align with the President’s push, public health experts have repeatedly stressed the dangers of relaxing social distancing measures too early.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, told CNN last month, “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”