Georgia has begun to reopen some businesses but mobile phone data reveals many people are still not venturing outside as they did before the stay-at-home order.
Gov. Brian Kemp is pushing one of the most aggressive lockdown reopening plans in the United States.
Barbershops, gyms, tattoo parlors and nail salons in the state were allowed to reopen on Friday, and dine-in restaurant service and movie screenings were freed to resume on Monday.
But even in Georgia, life was far from normal. Patrons went to restaurants with X’s on some tables, chatted across the room to one another and gave orders to servers whose faces were covered by masks.
Ron Flexon sitting at the counter for the dine-in service while other seats are marked off for social distancing protocol at the Waffle House in Brookhaven, Georgia, on Monday
Barry Lennon, operating partner of restaurant J. Christopher, hanging up signs to promote dine in service available in Brookhaven, Georgia, on Monday
Mobile phone data from Apple showed maps requests in Atalanta, Georgia, while walking and on public transport is still down after the easing of the lockdown
Some restaurants even refused to reopen and continued to offer only to-go services.
McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Dunkin’ said they have ‘no plans’ to reopen their restaurants in the state of Georgia, on Monday.
Mobile data from Apple has revealed maps activity while driving, walking and travelling on public transport are still well below the level before the lockdown was introduced in mid-March.
Although outside activity has increase since Friday when the easing of restrictions began, maps requests while using a vehicle was still down by 21 per cent across the state.
In Atlanta phone activity on public transport was still down 55 per cent, use of a phone while walking was reduced by 31 per cent and driving was down 28 per cent.
Operating manager Barry Lennon wearing a mask and cleaning the table of customer Duke Scott in the empty dining room of the J. Christopher’s restaurant that now offers dine-in
Barber shops are among those businesses permitted to reopen after a shutdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Metter, Georgia
The reopening began in Georgia despite warnings that, without sufficient testing, the state could see a surge in infections.
Many eateries remained closed amid concerns that serving in-house meals could put employees and customers at risk, while those that did open saw tables wide apart and staff wearing masks.
As some governors across the United States begin to ease restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, hopes are soaring that life as Americans knew it might be returning.
But plans emerging in many states indicate that ‘normal’ is still a long way off.
White House adviser Dr Deborah Birx says social distancing will be with Americans through the summer.
Georgia is projected to see its number of daily virus deaths nearly double by early August, according to a model shared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday.
Waffle House in Brookhaven on Monday. Restaurants around metro Atlanta began to reopen dining rooms as restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic are lifted
The Starlight Drive-In marquee reads, ‘Open Tonight’ as the coronavirus pandemic continues in Atlanta, Georgia, with the beginning of the easing of restrictions
Some 17 states on Friday partially lifted or eased lockdown and stay-at-home orders, allowing for a gradual resumption of economic activity.
Other Southeastern states have also started to reopen and the model created by independent researcher Youyang Gu looks at 40 countries and US states.
The projections for Georgia show the highest increase in deaths per day will be between May and August, CNN reports.
If social distancing was relaxed, the model predicts that the number of virus deaths per day in Georgia will jump from 32 on May 1 to 63 a day by August 4.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said yesterday there have so far been at least 1,015 deaths have been linked to disease, with more than 24,400 infections confirmed statewide.
The deaths include 432 people living in nursing homes or other longterm care facilities.