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In Photos: Georgia Opens For Business, But Patrons Are Far And Few – Forbes

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TOPLINE

Customers trickled in to reopened restaurants, salons and gyms in Georgia on Monday following Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to allow non-essential businesses to resume operating this week.

BROOKHAVEN, GA – APRIL 27: Barry Lennon, Operating Partner of J. Christopher, hangs up signs to to … [+] promote dine in service now available in the J. Christopher restaurant on April 27, 2020 in Brookhaven, Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed some non-essential businesses to start re-opening in Georgia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of Monday, restaurants around Georgia are allowed to offer dine-in service. Non-essential businesses allowed to start reopening are restaurants, movie theaters, tattoo shops, salons, gyms and nail salons. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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KEY FACTS

Despite prior protests in the state against social distancing requirements, the reopened businesses were far from packed.

Only 29% of Americans said they would feel comfortable eating at a restaurant, according to a CBS News poll released last week.

Although Waffle House’s 330 restaurants and a smattering of other eateries chose to open on Monday, most restaurants in the state remain closed.

Kemp’s decision has been met with widespread criticism, even from President Donald Trump; when asked about the disagreement with Trump at a press conference on Monday, Kemp maintained his support for the president: “He said it best today — the media wants to continue to divide us.” 

Businesses that choose to reopen must follow a set of 39 guidelines laid out by the state, including that employees must wear masks and restricted capacity. 

While employees across the board wore masks, many patrons did not.

″Non-Essential″ Businesses Start Re-Opening In Georgia Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 27: Harris Little cuts Matt Kim’s hair at 2Qute Hair Salon on April 27, 2020 in … [+] Atlanta, Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp has eased restriction and allowed some non-essential businesses to start re-opening in Georgia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. Non-essential businesses allowed to start reopening are restaurants, movie theaters, tattoo shops, salons, gyms and nail salons. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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″Non-Essential″ Businesses Start Re-Opening In Georgia Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

BROOKHAVEN, GA – APRIL 27: While an employee washes her hands, Ron Flexon sits at the counter for … [+] dine-in service at the Waffle House on April 27, 2020 in Brookhaven, Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed some non-essential businesses to start re-opening in Georgia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of Monday, restaurants around Georgia are allowed to offer dine-in service. Non-essential businesses allowed to start reopening are restaurants, movie theaters, tattoo shops, salons, gyms and nail salons. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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″Non-Essential″ Businesses Start Re-Opening In Georgia Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 27: Hand sanitizer is available for customers at Roasters on April 27, 2020 in … [+] Atlanta, Georgia. Roasters is open for dine-in service with social distancing and sanitation protocols in place. Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed some non-essential businesses to start re-opening in Georgia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of Monday, restaurants around Georgia are allowed to offer dine-in service. Non-essential businesses allowed to start reopening are restaurants, movie theaters, tattoo shops, salons, gyms and nail salons. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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US-HEALTH-VIRUS-GEORGIA-ECONOMY

A man decorates a bistro table outside his restaurant amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in … [+] Atlanta, Georgia on April 27, 2020. – Some Georgia restaurants reopened on April 27, 2020 for limited dine-in service as the state loosened more coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

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Virus Outbreak Georgia Reopens

Madison Chop House Grille offers customers free toilet paper Monday, April 27, 2020, in Madison, Ga. … [+] The steakhouse located in the historic district of Madison is preparing to shift from take out only to dine-in service after Gov. Brian Kemp eased restrictions on restaurants. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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Virus Outbreak Georgia

A customer gets her eyebrows waxed at Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique on Friday, April 24, 2020, in … [+] Marietta, Georgia. The salon had been closed for more than a month due to the new coronavirus. Barber shops, nail salons, gyms and a few other businesses reopened in Georgia on Friday as the Republican governor eased a month-long shutdown despite warnings from health experts of a potential new surge of coronavirus infections. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)

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Virus Outbreak Georgia Reopens

Corey Brooks, right, orders food at a Waffle House restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, on Monday, April … [+] 27, 2020. Restaurants statewide were allowed to resume dine-in service with restrictions after a month of being limited to takeout orders because of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

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Virus Outbreak Georgia

Sterling Henderson, 27, cleans gym equipment at Bodyplex Fitness Adventure on Friday, April 24, … [+] 2020, in Grayson, Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week the resumption of elective medical procedures, as well as the reopening of certain close-contact businesses like gyms, barbershops and tattoo parlors that were closed due to coronavirus concerns. Henderson said she was “ecstatic” the gym had reopened. “I think they’re doing a pretty good job of keeping everyone apart and cleaning. And there’s not that many people here now, said Henderson.”. (AP Photo/Sudhin Thanawala)

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Virus Outbreak Nowhere Near Normal

FILE – In this April 27, 2020, file photo, Jason Godbey hangs a banner over the entrance of Madison … [+] Chop House Grille as they prepare to shift from take out only to dine-in service in Madison, Ga. 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 we knew it might be returning. But the plans emerging in many states indicate that “normal” is still a long way off. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

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Virus Outbreak Georgia

Xuan Le wears a mask as she works on the nails of Deriana Hayward at Envy Nail Bar on Friday, April … [+] 24, 2020, in Savannah, Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week the resumption of elective medical procedures, as well as the reopening of certain close-contact businesses like gyms, barbershops and tattoo parlors. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

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US-HEALTH-VIRUS-GEORGIA-ECONOMY

A couple eats on a restaurant’s patio amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in Atlanta, Georgia on … [+] April 27, 2020. – Some Georgia restaurants reopened on April 27, 2020 for limited dine-in service as the state loosened more coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

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US-HEALTH-VIRUS-GEORGIA

Customers sit and eat in Moe’s Original BBQ restaurant amid the coronavirus pandemic in Atlanta, … [+] Georgia on April 27, 2020. – Some Georgia restaurants reopened on April 27, 2020 for limited dine-in service as the state loosened more coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

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″Non-Essential″ Businesses Start Re-Opening In Georgia Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

BROOKHAVEN, GA – APRIL 27: Clean items are labeled and organized for dine-in service at the J. … [+] Christopher’s restaurant on April 27, 2020 in Brookhaven, Georgia. Tables are marked with an ‘X” that cannot be used to keep social distancing protocol in the restaurant. Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed some non-essential businesses to start re-opening in Georgia amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of Monday, restaurants around Georgia are allowed to offer dine-in service. Non-essential businesses allowed to start reopening are restaurants, movie theaters, tattoo shops, salons, gyms and nail salons. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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