Some states begin to lift restrictions as health experts still say reopening plans are “too soon”

GEORGIA — Barbershops, tattoo parlors, gyms, and bowling alleys — those were just some of the small businesses that have recently reopened in Georgia, despite the “peach state” continuing to rank 12th in the most number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.

Atlanta-based barber Tommy Thomas was finally back to cutting hair after putting down his clippers and scissors for more than a month.

Thomas said he makes sure to follow safety guidelines as everyone in Georgia is trying to adapt to a new normal.

“I ain’t crazy about wearing gloves and cutting hair. I ain’t crazy about wearing a mask, but I’m gonna comply with our government and do what we need to do to be operating. It’s better to do this than sit at home and lose my business.”

But some Georgia residents are still very cautious and wary about going out and about amidst the state reopening.

“As much as I would love to get one I do not think it makes sense to open these businesses before the curve, before we hit the peak.”

“I wouldn’t go to a gym at this point because there’s too much sweating and breathing heavy and all that stuff. I don’t know.”

Georgia, as well as Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina, were the first states to begin reopening their economies.

Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, and Tennessee are the next batch of states that have announced they will reopen this week.

The re-openings occurred amidst criticism from health experts that they have not complied with all guidelines set by the federal government — specifically on the lack of means to screen systematically infected people who may be contagious, but asymptomatic, and to trace people they might have exposed.

The states going ahead with reopenings this week are concentrated in the south, the Midwest and Mountain West, where outbreaks have not been as severe as in the Northeast.

Most of those states are led by Republican governors.

Meanwhile, in the White House, it was a relatively quiet weekend for President Donald Trump.

After his comments to the media on Friday that he was just being sarcastic about asking if disinfectants can be injected into the human body, Trump has all but avoided the media.

He had a very short briefing on Friday as he highlighted the Food and Drug Administration’s approval in home self-test kits for COVID-19 and did not take any questions.

On Saturday, he announced via Twitter that he would not continue his daily briefings, blaming the media for choosing to attack him and making it a waste of his time.

After Trump’s comments and questions on possibly injecting disinfectants, poison control centers in states like Illinois and New York had reported a spike in emergency calls, with some cases in Chicago involving people who gargled bleach with mouthwash.

Health experts continue to warn the public that injecting, ingesting or snorting household cleaners is dangerous, and can be deadly.

The latest tally of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is nearing the 1 million mark, with 980,000 people testing positive, and the disease-causing more than 55,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.

(Cover photo: A nail salon reopens after a shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Pooler, Georgia, on April 25. Reuters/Maranie Staab)
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