ST. MARYS, Ga. – Georgia business owners who chose to reopen after the governor relaxed coronavirus-related restrictions gratefully welcomed back customers. But others remained satisfied in their decision to stay closed.
Gyms, tattoo shops, nail salons and barber shops were among the businesses that were allowed to open Friday after Gov. Brian Kemp relaxed a monthlong shutdown. That move came in spite of warnings from health experts and disapproval from President Donald Trump.
I (or @VP) never gave Governor Brian Kemp an OK on those few businesses outside of the Guidelines. FAKE NEWS! Spas, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, & barber shops should take a little slower path, but I told the Governor to do what is right for the great people of Georgia (& USA)!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2020
The state had recorded over 23,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 907 deaths by Saturday evening, according to the state health department.
Some business owners are eager to get their employees back to work, but others are concerned enough that they’re going to wait to reopen.
Hair salons and barbershops who spoke with News4Jax were seeing an influx of customers Saturday including those traveling over from the state line.
Jane Moore just reopened her salon in St. Marys and said she’s gotten a lot of calls from Floridians.
“I’ve counted five people that have called today from Florida," Moore said.
She said she’s not worried about how close she works to customers.
“They had masks and I had masks at the time but I’m not worried about it now," Moore said.
News4Jax saw her on Saturday as she was cutting her son’s hair. No mask for that cut, but Moore said she wears them around all of her customers.
Garry Young reopened Garry’s Hair Salon and was pleased with how good business was Saturday.
“It was a very positive day," he said.
He’s a one-man-band at his salon and worried at first what to expect with re-opening, but says everyone stayed friendly and patient and everything stayed sanitized.
“I keep a Clorox bottle around and wipe everything off in the chair off because people put their hands in their arms on the armrest of the chair,” Young said.
The reopenings came a few days after the first deaths were announced in Glynn and Camden counties.
According to data from the University of Washington, Georgia is still four days away from peak daily deaths.