Georgia Business Owner: Many Businesses Not Ready to Open Up This Week

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Diane Fall, owner of Maxim Barbers in Decatur, Georgia, told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday that her business is “definitely not” opening on Friday, despite Gov. Brian Kemp (R) giving certain businesses permission to do so.

Kemp announced this week that Georgia will begin reopening as early as Friday, allowing businesses such as gyms, salons, and body art studios to reopen, as long as they meet Minimum Basic Operations, which includes screening for workers, employee use of masks and gloves, enhanced workplace sanitization, staggered shifts, and proper social distancing measures:

However, Fall said it is far too soon, as she is struggling to find the required items needed to abide by the Minimum Basic Operations guidelines.

“Yesterday I went on the Internet just looking for capes because they’re saying you have to use one cape for each client. I looked for disposable capes. There’s nothing out there,” Fall said, noting that it is not enough time to gather the items needed.

“You have to have an infrared thermometer to take the temperature of your employees and each client who walks in the door. This can’t happen overnight,” she said.

“I’m just not prepared to do this,” she added.

She told the outlet that many other salons have also indicated that they are not prepared to reopen this week.

“Even the ones who are, are waiting until at least May 1,” Fall said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot of businesses are ready to open up.”

President Trump said during Wednesday’s press conference that he disagreed “strongly with his [Kemp’s] decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines,” adding that he believes it is “too soon.”

“I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with what he is doing,” Trump said.

Despite doubts from the president, Kemp is proceeding as planned.

“Earlier today, I discussed Georgia’s plan to reopen shuttered businesses for limited operations with @POTUS. I appreciate his bold leadership and insight during these difficult times and the framework provided by the White House to safely move states forward,” he said, contending that the state’s next step is “driven by data and guided by state public health officials.”

“We will continue with this approach to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of all Georgians,” Kemp said.

He added:

Just like the thousands of businesses currently operating throughout Georgia, I am confident that business owners who decide to reopen will adhere to Minimum Basic Operations, which prioritize the health and well-being of employees and customers.

As Breitbart News reported, the first phase of the Trump administration’s federal guidelines “recommends that some crowded public places such as schools, summer camps, and bars remain closed, but gyms, sit down dining restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting venues could operate provided they follow ‘strict physical distancing protocols’ and sanitary requirements.”

Kemp has also faced criticism from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms, who said she is “perplexed” by his decision to reopen the state and claimed that he did not confer with her or other key mayors before announcing the decision.

“I’ve spoken with several leaders across this state,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “So we really are at a loss, and I am concerned as a mother and as the mayor of our capital city.”

“I’m perplexed that we have opened up in this way. And again, I can’t stress enough, I work very well with our governor, and I look forward to having a better understanding of what his reasoning is,” she continued:

“But as I look at the data and as I talk with our public health officials, I don’t see that it’s based on anything that’s logical,” she added.

Kemp also announced this week that theaters, private social clubs, and restaurant dine-in services will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27, if they adhere to specific social distancing guidelines and sanitation mandates.


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