Georgia bars open for first time in more than two months

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Monday is the first time that Georgia bar owners can open their doors since the coronavirus pandemic hit the state. It is the next step in Georgia Governor Brian Kemps’s reopening plan.

The Rail Pub is one of several Savannah bars that took advantage of Gov. Kemp’s executive order, which allows bars to open as long as they follow 39 guidelines.

“It was a long 74 days,” said Rail General Manager Jon Hendrick. “We’re excited about being open now. Limited capacity or not: we’re going to make the most of it.”

Limiting capacity to 25 people or 35 percent is one of several guidelines put forth by the governor’s office.

Among others, Gov. Kemp says bars must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Screen workers for signs of COVID-19
  • Require workers to wear masks at all times
  • Build physical barriers to protect employees
  • Create markers that encourage social distancing both inside and outside bars
  • Create more seating areas to avoid gathering at the actual bar

It is different from what most people are used to, but customers say they appreciate the effort.

“And hopefully, in several months, it will be back to whatever new normal is going to happen,” said Kyle Lawson, a customer at Rail.

“We realize that most of the first people who are here just missed us more than anything and we’re so excited to have them back,” said Hendrick.

Gov. Kemp has extended his Public Health State of Emergency until June 12. In the same executive order, he strongly encouraged every Georgian to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

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