From GA, SC, and TN- Thousands of Restaurants Could Be Reopening Soon

As the uncertainty of when to reopen the economy has turned into a furious debate from both sides, three states have set plans to reopen over the next week. Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee have announced they will launch a restricted reopening of businesses and parks over the coming days.

Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia has announced starting today that gyms, salons, barbers, and bowling alleys will be allowed to open. Beginning on April 27th, dine-in service at restaurants will be allowed to restart. According to data from the National Restaurant Association, there were 18,403 eating and drinking places supporting 488,400 jobs in 2018. It is to be noted that bars, nightclubs, and live music venues were specifically noted as not being allowed to open their doors yet. This goes in line with the Open Up America Again guidelines issued by the White House last week.

The Georgia Governor has decided to allowed services to continue citing favorable data and testing available and encourages businesses to take safety precautions for this ‘limited, sensible’ approach. Cases are on the rise in the state but supporters have cited the low numbers compared to other hot spots in the country. New York will cross the threshold for 20,000 deaths by the end of this week while the state of Georgia is not projected to have over 1,000 deaths until next week according to research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington.

Tennessee and South Carolina have also announced plans to reopen next week with limited insight into exactly which businesses will be allowed to reopen. Those states boast restaurant counts of 11,693 and 9,669, respectively, according to the same source of NRA data.

Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee has said that cloth masks, handwashing, social distancing will continue and vulnerable individuals and anyone displaying signs of symptoms should stay home. He stated the government will not be extending stay at home order beyond April 30th and 89 of their 95 counties will start a phased reopening plan. Lee called out retail, restaurants, and other close contact facilities specifically but has not outlined specific measures that must be adhered to at this time. The governor continued that with 157 total deaths, he believes the state is ready to get back to work.

South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster has announced that schools will remain closed for the year but has started to open retail spaces and the beaches next week. While bars and restaurants were not listed in the executive order, the retail guidelines stated that businesses will be required to have less than 20% occupancy or not exceed five customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. They must also continue to engage in social distancing and increased sanitation.

In addition, Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio has announced plans to start to reopen on May 1st but details have not emerged of which businesses may be eligible and what restrictions will be required. DeWine said the state ‘flipped [a] light switch, but to get out we have to start moving the dimmer switch’. Ohio had 13,725 cases and 557 deaths according to the state's department of health as of yesterday.

We will update this story when more details emerge on state guidance.