Ga. governor lifting some COVID-19 orders, business owners react to eased restrictions

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, second from right, leaves the Georgia State Capitol Building after he...
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, second from right, leaves the Georgia State Capitol Building after he signed into law a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run, Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Atlanta.(Source: Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 12:43 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s new COVID-19 executive order goes into effect Thursday.

This executive order eliminates a lot of his previous orders, like cancelling the gathering ban and shelter in place requirements. It will also reduce any remaining distance requirements.

Here at home some restaurants are looking forward to some of those restrictions lifting.

Especially, one that would change the required distanced between tables inside of restaurants and bars from 6 feet to 3 and a half feet.

As more people across the Peach State get vaccinated, restrictions are lifting for restaurants and bars that have been operating at a limited capacity due to social distancing requirements.

Savannah restaurant owners hope it’ll bring back customers inside.

“If we were not able to do takeout, we would’ve probably of had to close our doors because it’s been the saving grace at this point,” said Wendy Bennett, co-owner of Kool Vibes Pizza & Wings.

Bennett says they don’t allow more than four or five people to dine-in at one time and with social distance restrictions decreasing, they’re looking forward to having more families come in.

“It would really help us. People would be a lot more comfortable to come in and sit down and just chill and eat, listen to the music stuff like that.”

Other restaurants like Geneva’s Famous Chicken and Cornbread saw their take out traffic triple because of the pandemic.

However the Owner and Operator Geneva Wade says they keep tables 6 feet apart which limits the number of customers allowed inside.

“We ask people to wait outside or wait in their cars. We have an intercom system set up outside so that we can reach the public and sometimes it’s very very busy over here and I know it’s a long wait sometimes but we are a very very small business so we serve a whole lot of people every day. We just want to keep the public as safe as possible in ourselves too,” said Wade.

Wade believes the more people get vaccinated, the quicker her business can return to normal.

She plans to enforce the new social distance requirement as soon as she can.

“We still have some tables that are sitting in our restroom and upfront of course to keep the distance. We would be glad to set our dining room back open for the public and I’m sure people would be glad too.”

Both businesses are still taking safety precautions like requiring masks for their employees and customers.

They also say they’re thankful for the support of their customers and community.

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