SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has given the green light for restaurants to reopen for dine-in business starting Monday.
However, some local eateries are choosing to keep their doors closed in order to protect their employees and customers.
“We know what the CDC is recommending and what the World Health Organization is recommending and it would be impossible for us to maintain social distancing if we opened our dining room and I think it would be a mistake,” says Whitney Shephard, owner of Green Truck Pub.
Most owners cite health data as another reason they aren’t reopening.
“If I didn’t see the number of confirmed hospital cases and death tolls rising daily in Georgia, I’d open Monday,” claims John Nichols, owner of Crystal Beer Parlor, adding, “We’re not going to be here.”
Another problem owners are worried about coming across is the inability to practice social distancing.
“Even if the people that came in were members of the same family, it would be impossible to hand them food and refill drinks without keeping enough distance to keep our servers safe and our customers safe,” explains Shephard.
As far as the protocol for reopening, public health officials say they will resume unannounced inspections of restaurants starting Monday. They will also require owners to fill out a checklist to ensure they are following appropriate guidelines.
“The checklist is still being finalized but it will include the employees be screened every day for symptoms related to COVID-19, sick employees to stay home, countertops, light switches and doorknobs to be routinely sanitized as well as maintain social distancing,” explains Ginger Heidel with the Coastal Health District.
Many restaurants are waiting to reopen when health officials say it is safe to do so.