Business owners who have chosen to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic must follow social distancing guidelines to keep their employees and customers safe.
On April 20, Gov. Brian Kemp announced certain businesses could reopen starting on Monday, including salons, theaters, and restaurants.
Then on April 23, the governor released additional guidance for “reviving a healthy Georgia” a program that outlines the criteria each business owner must meet while in operation.
Some businesses, such as barbershops, salons and tattoo parlors, were able to reopen on April 24. As with those businesses allowed to re-open on Monday, everyone must practice social distancing, which means keeping at least a six-foot distance from any other person.
For restaurants, no more than 10 patrons can be allowed in a dining room for every 500 square feet of the facility, including the waiting and bar areas. Hallways, restrooms, and spaces closed to customers do not count, according to the executive order.
Restaurant employees who show signs of illness should be screened and evaluated in case of fever more than 100.4 degrees, cough, or shortness of breath. These employees should not report to work and should seek medical attention, the guidelines state.
Teleworking and staggered shifts should be provided by restaurant employers, if possible, and all meetings should be held virtually.
Other safety measures, ranging from prohibiting handshaking to not using paper menus, are detailed in the governor’s order.
These rules do not apply to dine-in services in hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, or other long-term care providers.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development is authorized to give guidance to any business or organization regarding its status as “critical infrastructure.” The same guidelines that apply to restaurants also apply to these industries.
Swimming pools, performance venues, and amusement parks are being asked to stay closed while the rules are in effect. Retail businesses such as grocery stores must limit the number of customers inside to 50% of fire capacity occupancy.
Other guidelines apply, such as encouraging non-cash payments whenever possible and sanitizing the entrance and exit doors at least three times per day. Limiting store hours and having specific hours of operation for vulnerable residents to shop without contact with other customers is also recommended.
Gyms and fitness centers must implement additional measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Signage must be put up at entrances barring people who are sick and explaining the sanitation guidelines. Patrons will be screened before entering and anyone displaying symptoms will be turned away.
Employees must provide sanitation wipes on or near the gym equipment, and workers will patrol patron areas to enforce the wipe-down policy.
Tattoo parlors can accept customers by appointment only. Patrons are required to wash their hands after entering the facility, and hand sanitizer must be provided. Only one customer per tattoo artist can be allowed.
At movie theaters, each party of patrons must sit at least six feet apart. At least one usher must be in each auditorium before each show and, at some point, during the presentation to ensure proper social distancing guidelines are being followed.
Public gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned, and residents are encouraged to wear masks when venturing outside their homes, according to an executive order signed last week by the governor.
Residents and visitors to Georgia who are at higher risk of severe illness are required to shelter in place within their homes.
This includes people who are 65 years of age or older, live in a nursing home or long-term care facility and have underlying medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease, asthma, or heart disease.
Participating or conducting essential services and necessary travel is still permitted, but visitors are not allowed except for medical purposes.