COVID-19 made its first official mark in Georgia on March 2 when two members of the same household became the first known cases of the virus within the state. Exactly a month later on April 2, Governor Brian Kemp announced a shelter-in-place order shuttering all but essential businesses. However, less than four weeks later on April 24, restrictions were eased in a way that allowed salons, barbershops, nail studios, and spas to resume operations. For owners and beauty professionals who have faced unemployment and revenue loss, Gov. Kemp’s announcement presented difficult choices.
While other states have now begun to ease their own stay-at-home orders, Georgia’s early, phase one reopening notably included the high-touch professions of the beauty industry, a job sector other states aren’t including until later dates. But the decision to allow beauty services to resume didn’t result in universal feelings of thanksgiving among Georgia-based business.