Maxim Barbers’ Diane Fall on Georgia lifting business restrictions

The owner of a Georgia barbershop said she is not planning to open her doors Friday, when the state lifts coronavirus-related restrictions for businesses like hers.

“I’m definitely not opening this Friday. I don’t have a calendar date for opening,” Diane Fall said Thursday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Fall, who owns Maxim Barbers in Decatur, Georgia, said the task of gathering personal protective equipment and other supplies needed to meet safety requirements by Friday is too onerous.

“Yesterday I went on the internet just looking for capes because they’re saying you have to use one cape for each client. I looked for disposable capes, there’s nothing out there,” Fall explained. “You have to have an infrared thermometer to take the temperature of your employees and each client who walks in the door. This can’t happen overnight.”

Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced earlier this week that tattoo parlors, gyms and hair salons can reopen on Friday, as long as they follow social distancing and sanitary requirements. Restaurants can begin to offer restricted dine-in meals and movie theaters can start selling tickets on Monday.

Fall said she’s not aware of any restaurant in her town of Decatur, which is outside Atlanta, that plans to immediately begin offering dine-in service. She said other salon owners in the town have indicated to her they are not ready to reopen yet, either.

“Even the ones who are are waiting until at least May 1,” she said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot of businesses are ready to open up.”

Georgia has around 21,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of Thursday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 800 people in the state have died.

Many public health officials have criticized Georgia’s moves as being premature and possibly leading to a second wave of infections.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday evening he ”totally disagrees” with Kemp’s decision to open these types of hands-on businesses. He said it violates the “phased” guidelines released last week by the White House, but added he respects the governor’s right to make his own decision.

“I think if you were trying to create a list of things that you didn’t want to open in the early phases of trying to restart the economy, it would look a lot like this list,”  former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC earlier Thursday.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan defended the state’s plans Wednesday on CNBC, saying that businesses do not have to open. ”This is not forcing anybody back to business,” he said on “Closing Bell.”

Fall said she believes her employees want to go back to work. “But they’re fearful, and so am I.” She added, ”You can’t be at a distance from people” while cutting their hair.

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Post time: May-20-2020
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