• 75°

OUR VIEW: Continue to be safe

Gov. Brian Kemp has announced he’s allowing some businesses to reopen on Friday and more on Monday. And while many of us are waiting to eat at our favorite Troup County restaurant again, we must remember that the COVID-19 virus isn’t eradicated.

COVID-19 is still in Troup County. In fact, the county crossed the 100-case mark threshold Monday night and as of this writing has 105 confirmed cases and still four deaths.

While we want the economy to get back to normal as fast as anybody, we also don’t want to sacrifice health to do so. Kemp had to make a difficult decision, but it was one done with the entire state in mind. For some of the smaller counties in Georgia with a handful of cases, the concern may not be as dire.

What we’re saying is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.

The details of the governor’s announcement says that gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors are among businesses that may reopen Friday. However, Kemp made it clear that it wasn’t just returning to business as usual — they must adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene requirements.

When the restaurants do open on Monday, Kemp said they will also have specific restrictions. Employers will be responsible for screening workers for a fever, providing a clean workplace, and wearing gloves and a mask if needed. Kemp also called for implementing more staggered shifts and maintaining social distancing protocols.

Additionally, when dining out now, restaurants must make sure tables are at least six feet from each other and their customers are following social distancing as well.

The governor also said religious institutions can have in-person services again. However, he also encouraged them to continue online and call-in services.

Additionally, it must be noted that the measures announced by Kemp is the statewide law and local leaders cannot supersede the order.

Several of us are starved to get out and return to normal lives. But, we feel it’s necessary to caution people to not return to life all at once. It’s important to note that Chambers County is just a few miles to the west and for residents in West Point — it’s just a few steps to the west. As of Tuesday, Chambers County has 257 confirmed cases and 15 reported deaths.

We don’t want to tell anyone how to live their life. We just want people to be careful. It’s also important to note that the governor’s shelter-in-place order is still active until 11:59 p.m. on April 30.

That still means no social gatherings of 10 or more people. It still means we should be aware of our distance from other people in public if we have to go shopping.

Once again, be safe and hopefully. This is the beginning of life returning to some sense of normalcy, but it’s not a complete return to normal.