ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp released an executive order that detailed new requirements for how various businesses can begin reopening again.
The state’s first round of businesses reopening began Friday with salons, spas and gyms. The governor says businesses that reopen must put strict, protective measures into place to protect employees and patrons.
The requirements are specific to each type of business, but some include placing signs at entrances saying patrons can’t enter if they have symptoms of COVID-19, screening patrons for fever at the entrance, limiting occupancy, implementing heavy sanitation routines and staggering employee work stations.
The new guidelines also include how restaurants and movie theaters can reopen starting today.
This evening, I signed an Executive Order for Reviving a Healthy Georgia with our plan for the safe reopening of specific sectors of Georgia’s economy with limited operations. Read the order here: https://t.co/UA9bDXistu #gapol— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) April 23, 2020
Restaurants can resume providing dine-in services under the following conditions (among others):
- No more than 10 patrons per 500 square feet are allowed inside at once.
- All employees are required to wear masks at all times.
- Employers must screen and evaluate workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100.4 degrees and a cough or shortness of breath.
- Restaurants must post signs that say no one with symptoms of COVID-19 can enter.
- Party size is limited to no more than 6 per table.
- Salad bars and buffets are no longer allowed.
- Restaurants must use pre-rolled silverware.
- Items must be removed from self-service drink, condiment, utensil and tableware stations and have workers provide those items to patrons.
- Patrons must be kept separated while waiting to be seated through floor markings or waiting in cars.
- Workers who show signs of illness can’t come in to work. Employees who have COVID-19 must self-isolate for 7 days and be fever-free and symptom-free for 3 days before coming back to work.
- Employers must train employees on the importance of frequent handwashing, use of hand sanitizers and avoiding touching their faces.
- Playgrounds must stay closed.
Movie theaters can reopen under the following conditions on Monday:
- Parties are seated at least six feet apart. No party can be more than 6 people.
- Ushers will help enforce social distancing
- Tape must be applied to floors at ticket counters to keep people at a safe distance.
- Employees must clean every seat, armrest, door handle, handrail and doorknob before and after each showing.
You can read the full text of the order HERE.
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Channel 2′s Lori Wilson talked to restaurant owners, some of whom say that even if they can open, they are not planning to.
Eater put out a list of 100 restaurants that are keeping their seating areas closed and continuing to do to-go and delivery orders.
Wilson talked to Gus Tselios, the owner of six metro Atlanta restaurants including the Marietta Diner. He said he’s focused on great food and great curbside customer service since his dining rooms shut down three weeks ago.
“I like the fact that the governor wants to open back up,” Tselios said. “I want to open, but I think it’s probably wise just to wait and maybe strategically open. I think the main concern is the health of our staff and the health of our customers.”
Tselios said he’ll open dining rooms again when he has the OK from health care professionals.
Richard Tang, owner of Char Korean Bar and Grill, feels the same way.
“For the time being, I’m just going to slow roll it and make sure my staff are safe,” Tang said.
Bad Daddy’s CEO Ryan Zink said his four Atlanta restaurants will open.
“There is a group of people that are ready to enjoy restaurants again,” Zink said. “We’d like to support them, and we think we can do that in a safe manner.”
Zink said he’s looking forward to putting his staff back to work.
Restaurant owners said that now that they have the option, they’ll open when the time is right for their customers and staff.
“The whole dynamics of the dining industry is going to change, and you either evolve or die at this moment,” one owner said.
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