Today was the first day that several states began to return to whatever our new “normal” is expected to be during this time of crisis.
The move comes as the US death toll reaches an eerie milestone.
Even as the confirmed U.S. death toll from coronavirus rose past 50,000, salons, spas and barbershops reopened Friday in Georgia and Oklahoma with a green light from their Republican governors, who eased lockdown orders despite health experts’ warnings.
Alaska took a similar step, allowing restaurants to resume dine-in service and retail shops and other businesses to reopen, all with limitations. Some municipalities chose to maintain stricter rules.
Though limited in scope, and subject to social-distancing restrictions, the reopenings marked a symbolic milestone in the debate raging in the United States – and the world — as to how quickly political leaders should lift economically damaging lockdown orders.
Similar scenarios have been playing worldwide and will soon proliferate in the U.S. as other governors wrestle with conflicting priorities. Their economies have been battered by weeks of quarantine-fueled job losses and soaring unemployment claims, yet health officials warn that lifting stay-at-home orders now could spark a resurgence of COVID-19.
Earlier in the week, President Trump made it clear that he “totally disagreed” with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen the Peach State. Kemp was undeterred by the Commander in Chief, but a great many business within Atlanta have stated that they will not be reopening until they feel that the threat has truly passed.
Those that did open, however, were slammed.
In Georgia, David Huynh had 60 clients booked for appointments at his nail salon in Savannah, but a clothing store, jewelry shop and chocolatier that share a street corner with his downtown business, Envy Nail Bar, remained closed.
“The phone’s been staying ringing off the hook,” Huynh said. “We’ve probably gotten hundreds of calls in the last hour.”
Four women clutching face masks were waiting outside when the salon opened for the first time since March 26.
“Yes, I am ready to get my nails fixed,” said Alina Davis, a police officer for the local school system, who kept working throughout the crisis.
Now we can only hope that this early opening doesn’t wind up contributing to a second wave of virus cases in the coming weeks.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.