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Some local businesses reopen, while restaurant dining rooms remain closed

JIM WEST gets a trim from Tamila Best Tuesday at Cairo’s Cuttin Loose salon.

With Gov. Brian Kemp giving the green light allowing many businesses to reopen in recent days, some Cairo establishments are sticking their toes in the water, some have jumped in completely, and still others are watching from the dock, but all say they are enforcing the required social distancing guidelines and sanitation measures.

Kemp has faced harsh criticism for his decision to reopen some businesses even as the spread of COVID-19 and the number of deaths continue to increase in the state.
Although restaurants were allowed to offer in-person dining as of Monday, none of the ones contacted by The Messenger have gone that far, yet. Instead, they’re continuing to offer drive-thru and curbside pickup service only.
“For us, everybody thought our numbers were probably a little bit behind the rest of the state, so seems like it’s just not the right time for us,” says Wayne Hadden of Mr. Chick. “We felt like for the best interest for our customers and employees that we should wait and look at the numbers again at the end of the week.”
Under the current guidelines issued by the state, Mr. Chick general manager Jeffery Cape says the popular local restaurant could only accommodate 50 diners at a time.
At Pickle Patch Deli, the plan is to hold a soft opening of the dining room beginning Monday, May 4, with fewer seating options to allow for the six feet apart rule.
Maryland Fried Chicken does allow customers to walk inside, but only for a carry out order. “And we are staying with 10 person max inside at a time,” states owner Jeremiah Horne. Meanwhile, their drive-thru remains open.
Home Slice Pizza’s dining room is also closed, for now. “I am going to play it by ear and monitor the number of positive cases increase/decrease. So, probably for the next couple of weeks it’s call in/drive thru only,” states owner Karen Holder. “I also keep tabs with the local health inspectors and follow their recommendations.”
Taco N Madre is following the same plan. “We care about everyone’s health. We are going to continue social distancing and continue doing only carry out and curbside orders until further notice,” owners state.
Rock Bottom Seafood and Grill, which recently relocated to 197 M.L.K. Ave. in the Downtown Plaza, is open Thursdays through Saturdays with drive-thru and walk-up service only.
Dairy Queen, McDonald’s and Hardee’s here are also limiting their service to drive-thru.
Although the movie screen remains dark at Cairo’s historic Zebulon Theater, for now, the concession stand is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m., selling hot buttered popcorn, snow cones, drinks and candy with the addition of boiled peanuts on Mondays and Fridays. Manager Robert Dykes says customers appreciate the opportunity to have the comfort of movie food, as they wait for the theater to reopen.
Hair salons and barbers were allowed to reopen Friday, and some in Cairo did so, following guidelines set by state officials that combine social distancing with screening, cleaning and the use of personal protective equipment.
“Under our sanitation laws and rules, we are charged with the responsibility of protecting consumers from the spread of contagious diseases everyday in our salons,” Chairman Kay Kendrick of the Georgia Board of Cosmetology and Barbers has said. “By adding the safety guidelines that have been developed by the board and some of our industry leaders in the cosmetology and barber profession, we feel that our professionals will be able to do an even better job of protecting themselves and their clients.”
For instance, all salon employees must wear masks and customers are encouraged to wear masks. Each salon in Cairo has its own additional rules, and customers should call for information. Salons are limiting the total number of people inside the business, and most state that customers must be unaccompanied.
Gyms and fitness centers were allowed to open Friday, and some did. Cairo Fitness and Forever Summer Tan is reopening Friday, May 1. All have reduced operating hours for the time being, some require masks, some suggest masks, all are asking clients to wipe down their equipment before and after using them and all are promising to sanitize the entire facility frequently during the day.

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