Businesses across Chatham Co. begin opening back up

Businesses across Chatham Co. begin opening back up

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Friday select businesses across Georgia are allowed to open their doors to clients, with some restrictions.

Earlier this week Governor Brian Kemp amended his executive order to give business owners the choice.

One nail salon opened up and inside you could see both customers and staff wearing face masks, a precaution which falls within minimum basic operation guidelines.

It’s just one example of businesses opening their doors to customers for the first time in weeks.There are many that fall within the allowed to open category that aren’t, like all YMCA gyms in the Coastal Georgia region.

“Really at the heart of it all is we are a community health organization and we wanted to continue to do what we’ve always done which is to help our communities be as healthy as possible. And we do not believe that right now is the time for us to open," said Hillary Bradbury with YMCA of Coastal Georgia.

For one Savannah small business owner we spoke to, the choice was simple.

“To open or not open is not a difficult decision. Immediately I knew not going to open. Financially has it been rough, of course. That I know is on the lips of pretty much everybody," said Kelley Boyd with Savannah Yoga Center.

It’s the financial pressure that has small gym and salon owner Dean Kicklighter opening his doors Friday, even with the potential risk to his own health and safety.

“Oh absolutely I’m concerned. But I’m concerned when I drive to work everyday also. I know there’s a good chance I can pull across and someone’s gonna miss the red light, slam in my side and kill me. But that’s a risk I have to take to pay my bills. And this I feel is a bigger risk than driving to work, but it’s a risk that I as an adult, owning two businesses, I have to take that risk,” said Den Kicklighter with Randell and Dean’s Precision Cuts and Styles.

Kicklighter added he’s following all the Governor’s minimum basic operation requirements.

Businesses across Chatham Co. begin opening back up

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said businesses can reopen so long as they follow minimum basic operational rules.

Right now state officers, including Motor Carrier Compliance, DNR, GSP, as well as county sheriff’s offices are the only agencies that can write citations to businesses not complying with the Governor’s order.

Those same state officers are also manning the beaches along Georgia’s coast to prevent order violations there, too.

According to GSP’s Rincon Post, they have gotten several calls about violations, but no citations have been written though for businesses not following the guidelines.

“When we are checking into these calls, what we’ve noticed are a majority of them are not sustained. And when we do find some where there could be some possible violations, or they’re not doing things in 100% of accordance with the order, we’ve educated them and discussed it with them. And they’ve been very cooperative and agreed to fix the issues," said Chris Nease, GSP Post 42 Commander.

Nease says he’s anticipating a rise in the number of complaint calls as more and more businesses open back up in the coming days.

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