WALKER COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a new executive order Thursday, relaxing more restrictions for the Peach State.
Beginning June 16:
- Those 65 and older are no longer required to shelter in place.
- Sports of all levels are free to follow the individual league rules, whatever those may be.
- Party maximums disappear for restaurants and movie theaters.
- Bars can serve at least 50 people, or 35 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is larger.
- Limit on people per square foot in restaurants eliminated.
- Overnight summer campers and workers can attend with a negative COVID-19 test up to 12 days prior (changed from seven days).
- Walk-ins are welcome for hair, tattoo, massage and tanning salons.
Beginning July 1:
- Conventions can resume, if it meets 21 specific requirements.
- Live performance venues can reopen with compliance.
Gov. Kemp continues to make Georgia one of the leading examples of reopening. However, not all agree with the his decision.
“I’m not a fan of premature reopenings, and I think Georgia jumped a little early,” Fort Oglethorpe resident Ed Jessee said.
“I think that we should definitely be cautious in opening things up and with removing the restrictions,” Walker County resident Shaina Gross said. “I’m reading more and more about the COVID cases increasing in Walker County specifically.”
Walker County has 216 confirmed cases of the virus — up from 189 last week.
However, some Walker County residents believe reopening is vital for the economy to survive.
“I’m glad they’re actually lifted. I think it’s long overdue,” Walker County resident Brenda Pickett said.
“I feel like it’s not necessarily the best thing to have happened, but I understand the need to have more people back in work and spending money,” Walker County resident Chance Coulombe said. “While there is a viral epidemic going on, there are a lot of small businesses that aren’t able to financially recover from said restrictions.”
“If it can be done in the right manner and people can be responsible, I think it’s a good thing,” Tony Magaraci said. “I think for a healthy economic system, I think we have to do something because if we don’t, there’s going to be a lot greater things that we’ll be accountable for.”