ATLANTA — Businesses such as salons, tattoo parlors, spas and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen today in Georgia, the start of a reopening process authorized by Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this week that has drawn significant scrutiny.
While many business owners have declared they would stay closed, some excitedly announced to their customers they would be reopening - and then quickly regretted it.
"My deepest apologies for misleading all with the reopening starting April 24th. It was a decision I made upon the governors announcement to allow non-essential businesses such as our own, to have the option to open up and I regret making the decision so sudden," Sharon Lavender, the owner of Nyah Med Spa, which has locations in Alpharetta and Atlanta, wrote in a note to clients.
Lavender wrote that after hearing feedback from staff and clients, "I have come to the conclusion that this is not the best decision for the staff and clients of Nyah Med Spa."
Georgia businesses face a difficult decision over whether to reopen.
“There are business models that need to get back to work. If the option is there, you should do it responsibly and safely,” he said.
But if a business reopens, its customers may turn on them for doing so.
"Our early indications from all our customers is that they are not in support of us reopening, yet, and people coming into the building and that sort of thing," Chris Escoba, the owner of Atlanta's The Plaza Theatre, told 11Alive's Jon Shirek.
Small and large businesses alike face the potential backlash. The fitness chain giant LA Fitness put off reopening its Georgia locations on May 1 after they "received many emails and phone calls from members."
"We decided to hold off for now while we seek a greater consensus between the federal, state and local authorities on the proper path forward," the company said in a letter to members.
For now, Georgia may slowly be opening, but there are indications public pressure will keep many places closed.
Photos: Georgia businesses reopen during coronavirus pandemic
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