Republican governors from three southeastern states — Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee — have taken steps to reopen segments of the business sector this week as the coronavirus lockdown ravages their economies.

On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Georgia), took a “small step forward” to open the Georgia economy. Kemp opted to reopen all gyms, massage parlors, tattoo shops and hair salons on Friday. The GOP governor also permitted theaters and restaurants to open, allowing Georgians to dine-in, with restrictions in place, as early as April 27.


Georgia has the 12th highest number of novel coronavirus cases, with 18447 confirmed cases, as of Tuesday afternoon. The state has the 11th highest fatalities with 767.

After Kemp’s announcement, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) declared similar openings in their states.

In Tennessee, Lee reported Monday that he was not extending his stay-at-home order set to expire April 30. According to his office, “The vast majority of businesses in [the] 89 counties” would be allowed to open May 1.

In South Carolina, McMaster, another Republican, said that department and retail stores would be permitted to open Tuesday. He reiterated that these entities must follow social distancing guidelines. McMaster also ended restrictions on beaches, public piers and wharves.


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