Gov. Kemp: Some businesses can begin reopening with social distancing guidelines

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks about the COVID-19 virus during a news conference at the Georgia...
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks about the COVID-19 virus during a news conference at the Georgia state Capitol on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)(Brynn Anderson | AP)
Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 7:06 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans to begin reopening select businesses across the state as early as this week with specific guidelines.

Gov. Kemp stated during a news conference Monday that gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologist, hair designers, nail care artists, their respective schools and massage therapists can begin basic operations on Friday, April 24.

According to the governor’s office, minimum basic operations include but are not limited to screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing masks and gloves, separating workplaces by six feet, teleworking if possible and staggered shifts.

Theaters, private social clubs and dine-in services at restaurants will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27, with specific social distancing guidelines and sanitation mandates. The governor’s office states that more details will be released later this week.

Bars, nightclubs, amusement parks and live performance venues will remain closed.

The shelter-in-place order will expire at 11:59 p.m. on April 30.

#WATCH: Governor Brian Kemp is set to address Georgians on the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Monday, April 20, 2020

Savannah leaders are reacting to Governor Kemp’s announcement.

The President and CEO of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce says he supports the governor’s decision and believes Savannahians are ready to get back to a working economy.

“It makes sense. We’re going to have to monitor the numbers closely and make sure that we don’t expose ourselves further but you got to get back to business. And it’ll never be business as usual but it’s got to happen slowly," said President and CEO Bill Hubbard.

Essential businesses were originally the only ones allowed to operate through Governor Kemp's state-wide shelter in place order.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson posted the following on Facebook after Governor Kemp’s announcement.

Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions was on CNN Monday night reacting to the governor’s decision. She says it’s a big safety concern for the entire island. They’re worried that people from hot spots around the country will bring even more risks for the coronavirus to the three mile long island.

“We really are not ready. We don’t have lifeguards in place. We have a very small staff that has not really stepped up for the season. Most importantly, when people come in, what are they going to leave with and leave us with?”

While Sessions says they depend on tourism and want the workforce back, they don’t want to risk the safety of this community or the country.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 19,399 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the 7 p.m. Monday (4/20) update.

The total deaths related to COVID-19 is now at 775. A total of 3,703 confirmed cases are hospitalized.

Six deaths have been reported in Chatham County, two in Bryan County, two deaths in Bulloch County, one in Effingham County, one in Screven County, one in Bacon County, and three in Toombs County.

Over 84,000 coronavirus tests have been conducted statewide.

The following are the number of confirmed cases for counties in the WTOC viewing area, according to DPH:

  • Chatham County: 184
  • Glynn County: 49
  • Liberty County: 34
  • Bryan County: 34
  • Camden County: 27
  • Bulloch County: 30
  • Effingham County: 27
  • Toombs County: 20
  • Appling County: 21
  • Bacon County: 19
  • Screven County: 11
  • Wayne County: 8
  • Tattnall County: 5
  • Jeff Davis: 7
  • Candler County: 7
  • McIntosh County: 4
  • Long County: 2
  • Evans County: 3
  • Montgomery County: 2

DPH releases new numbers daily at noon and 7 p.m.

Full Executive Order (4/20):

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