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As Georgia businesses reopen, some local owners pass up opportunity

Posted at 6:47 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 18:47:06-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Georgia is allowing more businesses to open including restaurants and movie theaters following Friday's move to re-launch the economy by opening gyms, salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys.

However, many places are saying "no thanks."

While some businesses are holding out a little longer before welcoming customers back in, we found a local gym exercising their right to re-open.

At Sculpt 24 in Valdosta, people are getting their fitness on, with caution.

Donna Hughes is the gym's general manager.

"We take their temperature, we let them know we have sanitizer, gloves if they want them, those kinds of things," said Hughes.

She says employees are now wiping down all equipment around the clock.

It's part of the guidelines required to let them stay open, which includes avoiding shared use of things, providing disinfectants, increasing physical space between people and encouraging handwashing.

At the restaurant Covington, employees are also wearing gloves and masks. Despite all they're doing, people still can't dine-in.

"We are definitely past ready to open, and see people, and be active and have our staff back fully," said Sue Cox, the co-owner of Covington and 304 North Restaurant. "We just want to take our time and do it properly because we want secure the safety of our employees and families."

Food establishments have even more rules to follow, like wearing PPE, posting signage that bans people with COVID-19 from going in, and using a different exit than an entrance.

Cox says, considering everything that's required, she wanted more time.

304 North Restaurant will allow carryout guests to eat at some of their outside seating locations this weekend.

"Just waiting to have all the things in place that we need to have in place," said Cox.

Both businesses agree that with so much on the line with the coronavirus, they don't want to take any risks.

"Don't come in if you're sick and have a runny nose or a high fever, because I will send you home," Hughes said.

Even though movie theatres and bowling alleys can be open, in Valdosta they're not.

Jac's Lanes says they want to wait longer to avoid risking people getting sick. Valdosta Cinemas has not commented but they're still closed.

Cox says her employees are already wearing masks, gloves and practicing social distancing.

They want to wait a little longer to get proper signage up.

Signs warning about coronavirus symptoms are part of the governor's reopening requirements.

Since a lot of their money comes from catering... the business has taken a hit of about 100 thousand dollars..but they're trying to stay optimistic.

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