MACON, Ga. — The White House guidelines for reopening American businesses and public places are comparable to a funnel.
At the top, (phase 1) it's wide. There's a lot of rules and restrictions, but as time goes by, there are fewer and fewer restrictions.
Right now, Governor Brian Kemp's office says Georgia is still in phase 1.
"To initiate phase one, a state must meet a series of basic criteria which can be tailored to reflect specific circumstances for a region or statewide approach. For weeks now, our state has taken targeted action to prevent, detect and address the spread of coronavirus by leveraging data and advice from healthcare officials in the public and private sectors," said Kemp on April 20th.
Less than a week later, the state's restaurants, salons, and gyms began reopening under strict social distancing and sanitary guidelines.
"There's a four-page list of requirements that we are all needing to do," Houston County salon owner Jenni Kerr told 13WMAZ.
Georgia was one of the first states to enter phase 1, even though President Trump was critical.
"I said you're not in the guidelines, but I'm letting you make your own decision. But I want people to be safe, and I want the people in Georgia to be safe," said President Trump during an April press conference.
So how does Georgia compare with neighboring states?
Alabama began its phase 1 last week, Florida on Monday, North Carolina on May 8th. Governor Roy Cooper's phase 1 plans for the Tar Heel State expires on Friday, but it could be extended.
Taking a closer look, phase 1 is the most stringent.
Under the White House guidelines, schools should be closed, travel should be restricted, and nursing homes should not allow visitors.
You should also avoid gatherings larger than 10 people and practice social distancing in public.
Restaurants, movie theaters, salons, gyms, and other public spaces can operate on strict sanitary guidelines.
As states move into phases 2 and 3, the restrictions loosen further.
In phase 2, schools can reopen and bars can operate with a limited capacity.
By phase 3, visitors can return to nursing homes and most operating and cleaning protocols in public spaces will be limited.
Remember, these are guidelines from the White House, not legal requirements.
So far, there is no word from Governor Kemp's office on when the Peach State could enter phase 2.
You can read all the federal guidelines, here.
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