Georgia’s shelter-in-place order ends, businesses take things slowly amid state reopening

BUFORD, GA — Businesses in Georgia are officially allowed to fully reopen on Friday. Governor Brian Kemp is not extending the Peach state’s shelter-in-place order that expired Thursday.

Georgia state reopens its economy, despite health experts warning that fully reopening without wide-scale coronavirus testing and other safeguards could be risky.

“But the fact of the matter is, the people that are most vulnerable to this are in our long-term care facilities and they’re elderly and they’re medically fragile. So that’s who we’re continuing to shelter in place. But the people that are not being adversely affected by this… there is a way now for them to move back into the workforce,” said Kemp.

“I think that you are putting an already vulnerable population at an even higher risk,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Small business owner, Arjho Carino Turner, agrees with the Atlanta mayor that people’s safety should not be compromised.

“Karamihan nang mga trabahante sa mga businesses na ito, especially yung mga nail technicians dito sa Georgia, karamihang nang mga nail technicians are of Asian American immigrants, are of Asian American heritage.”

“Most of the workers in these businesses, especially the nail technicians in Georgia, are Asian American immigrants, are of Asian American heritage.”

Jonathan Pascual, owner of Taproom Cafe and Beer, said he, along with other owners of food places in the Atlanta area, are not planning to fully reopen yet.

Gaudelia Baltazar, another small business owner and retired army nurse, told ABS-CBN News that like most Georgians, she is torn about the governor’s move to fully reopen amid the pandemic.

“I’m happy that some fellow business owners can reopen. However, as a nurse, I know safety first. Still the unknown number of how many people, were enough people adequately tested? So that business owners reopening minimize their risk of exposure as well as clients minimizing their risk of exposure.”

As of Friday, the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Georgia continue to increase — not meeting phase 1 of the federal guidelines for reopening.

But Kemp — like governors of more than a dozen states relaxing lockdown measures — said he is just giving people the opportunity to go back to business.

(Cover photo: People exercise at Gold’s Gym, one of the businesses that reopened after a shutdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease in Augusta, Georgia. Reuters/Maranie Staab)
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