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Georgia business owners cautious as state begins lifting some restrictions

While happy to have the opportunity to begin serving customers again – at least in a limited capacity – some are also very cautious moving forward.

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — The gradual reopening of Georgia that starts on Friday is big news for local businesses that were forced to close their doors, laying off employees.

And while happy to have the opportunity to begin serving customers again – at least in a limited capacity – some are also very cautious moving forward.

For several weeks now, Verde Taqueria in Brookhaven has been restricted to only takeout and delivery, like all restaurants statewide.

“We've been able to pivot and keep our sales pretty strong,” Hil Rogers said.

Rogers said they've been able to keep busy - between takeout orders and running between different hospitals where they’ve been delivering free meals to healthcare workers.

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“I think we're a little over 3,000 meals now,” Rogers said. “We've done Piedmont, several Emory campuses, Grady.”

That workflow could soon change, however, as Governor Brian Kemp announced, Monday, a major change to current restrictions. Restaurants, theaters, and social clubs are now allowed to reopen on April 27.

“This measure allows them to undertake baseline operations,” Kemp said during Monday’s news conference.

Salons, barbershops, and gyms will be allowed to reopen this Friday. And Lauren Rawls said the governor's announcement left her conflicted. She owns Lauren Rochelle Salon Studio in Atlanta.

“On one hand, it's my livelihood. That's how I support my family,” she said. “On the other hand, it's risky because it's not all settled. I run the risk of bringing the virus home.”

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Rogers said he also has concerns.

“There's just so many unknowns of what everybody wants, what's safe, what's legal,” he said. “I think we're going to just sit tight and wait for more info to trickle down.”

But what these business owners do know is that they're putting the safety of staff and customers first.

“We're going to start having procedures put in place; then, from there, we'll start reaching out to our clients,” Rawls said.

Gov. Kemp said businesses still must adhere to some guidelines such as social distancing, regular sanitation, staggering shifts, and wearing masks and gloves.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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