Apr 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

3 Southern states will begin to ease coronavirus lockdowns

Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Governors in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina have announced plans to ease their coronavirus lockdowns.

The latest: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced plans on Monday to allow some nonessential businesses to reopen on Friday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

  • The state's shelter-in-place order will remain active until April 30. But indoor facilities including gyms, bowling alleys and salons will be allowed to reopen — as long as they maintain social distancing requirements and abide by other safety rules.
  • Restaurants will also be allowed to reopen on April 27 as long as they meet guidelines that are set to be released this week.
  • The "medically fragile" are being encouraged to remain home until May 13.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) also announced on Monday that he will not be extending the state's stay-at-home order past April 30 and that businesses will be permitted to reopen next week, per the Tennessean.

  • But some local restrictions could remain in place, particularly in the state's larger cities.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said on Monday that some retail shopping facilities will be permitted to reopen that had previously been deemed "nonessential," per The State.

  • Stores will still be required to abide by social distancing rules and tightened occupancy limits.
  • Facilities that involve close human contact including salons and gyms will remain closed.

The big picture: President Trump has encouraged governors of states with "beautifully low" numbers to reopen their economies. Trump's "slow the spread" policies only extend at the federal level until May 1.

  • Public health officials have expressed concerns that reopening too early could cause a second wave of coronavirus infections.
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