The governors of Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina are moving to ease their statewide stay-at-home orders and gradually reopen their economies, announcing their plans on Monday amid signs that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced that he will not extend the state's stay-at-home order past April 30. According to his office, "the vast majority of businesses in 89 counties" will be allowed to reopen on May 1.
In addition, most state parks in Tennessee are set to reopen on April 24.
"For the good of our state, social distancing must continue, but our economic shutdown cannot," the governor said, adding, "Social distancing works, and as we open up our economy it will be more important than ever that we keep social distancing as lives and livelihoods depend on it."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that certain businesses, including gyms, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys, message therapists, and tattoo parlors can reopen beginning this Friday with "minimum basic operations."
Next Friday, May 1, restaurants and movie theaters will open in the state.
It will not be straight back to business-as-usual, though. WRDW reports:
Social distancing measures would also be strictly enforced with these businesses. These businesses will also have to screen employees for fever, enhance sanitation efforts, require the wearing of masks and gloves, keep people at a distance of 6 feet, encourage teleworking, and consider staggered shifts.
Venues such as bars and nightclubs will continue to be closed until further notice.
Gov. Kemp said:
"By taking this measured action, we will get Georgians back to work safely without undermining the progress that we have all made in the battle against COVID-19."
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced that many stores will be able to reopen on Monday, April 27, with requirements to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Beaches, public piers, docks, and wharfs are allowed to reopen immediately.
The stores that will be allowed to reopen Monday include:
- Furniture and home-furnishings stores
- Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
- Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
- Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Book, craft, and music stores
- Flea markets
- Florists and flower stores
South Carolina stores, upon reopening, must adhere to strict social distancing requirements, including operating at 20% occupancy or five customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less; not knowingly allowing customers to congregate within six feet of one another, excluding families; and following relevant CDC and DHEC guidelines.