Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina Announces Plans to Relax Lockdowns

The South Carolina National Guard works with state and federal agencies as a task force to
SC National Guard / Flickr

A trio of Southern states announced separately Monday that they plan on loosening stay-at-home orders implemented as part of an effort combat the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) detailed plans to allow some businesses, including gyms, salons, and related indoor facilities, to reopen by Friday. Workers and patrons must social distance and meet several other safety guidelines. Restaurants will be allowed to reopen on April 27, while bars will remain closed.

“I don’t give a damn about politics now,” Kemp said in a press conference, adding that Georgia residents are “going broke worried about whether they can feed their children and make the mortgage payment.”

Georgia’s shelter-in-place order will stay in place until April 30.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee (R) also announced he will not extend his state’s stay-at-home order past April 30 and that several types of businesses could begin opening their doors by week’s end.

“For the good of our state, social distancing must continue, but our economic shutdown cannot,” Lee said in a news briefing.

“We plan to keep the same social distancing guidelines in place even beyond and into the next few weeks,” he added.

Additionally, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said some retail business will be allowed to reopen which had been designated as “non-essential.”

“Our measured, deliberate approach has been the right one we believe,” explained McMaster. “Our goal was to cause the most damage possible to the virus, while doing the least possible damage … to our businesses. South Carolina’s business is business.”

Barbershops, salons, and gyms will remain closed until further notice, the governor said.

The development comes as Texas has begun reopening its state parks for daytime use only.


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