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COVID-19

Georgia businesses weigh options as governor allows some to reopen

Emma Hurt Apr 27, 2020
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Toni Williams-Tazel, owner of All About Hair in Atlanta, has decided it’s not safe to reopen her salon despite the green light from the state government. Courtesy Toni Williams-Tazel
COVID-19

Georgia businesses weigh options as governor allows some to reopen

Emma Hurt Apr 27, 2020
Toni Williams-Tazel, owner of All About Hair in Atlanta, has decided it’s not safe to reopen her salon despite the green light from the state government. Courtesy Toni Williams-Tazel
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Toni Williams-Tazel has owned her Atlanta salon for more than 20 years. (Photo courtesy of Williams-Tazel)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed some businesses to reopen for basic operations after a COVID-19-related lockdown. The businesses still need to maintain social distancing and follow sanitation guidelines.

Hair and nail salons, gyms, fitness centers and bowling alleys were the first to be allowed to open on Friday. April 24, and dine-in restaurants and theaters come next. But, as Kemp said, it’s up to the private sector to convince customers that it’s safe to return.

Business owners across the state are weighing whether they can do that, and if so, how to reopen safely for their employees and customers.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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