A variety of government and business leaders gathered Tuesday afternoon at the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce to talk about businesses coming back to life in the community.
And they did so while following every precaution — they stood at least six feet apart, their spots marked off by tape on the floor, and they wore masks when they weren’t speaking.
Collectively, their message was the same. Yes, some businesses may reopen that had been shuttered by state order. But such openings are voluntary. If they don’t feel comfortable in opening their doors again, they don’t have to do so. Neither do customers. If you don’t feel comfortable going to a business, then don’t.
As Chamber Executive Director Andrea Collins pointed out, “We are open for business. However, it is a soft open and it will take many phases. Health and safety are of our utmost importance. We highly encourage you to review the guidelines from the CDC and on georgia.gov.”
Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order remains in effect through today. Even if he chooses not to extend it, it is still a good idea for those who are particularly vulnerable.
For the time being — and maybe for quite some time going forward — the practice of social distancing and even the wearing of face masks will be recommended, if not strongly urged. As Thomas County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Jones said Tuesday, what we have now is the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane. By the choices we make, we can turn into the equivalent of a tropical storm.
We hope the businesses that do reopen do so in a manner that helps to protect them and their customers and we hope those among us who go back out into the shopping world are mindful of not only their well-being but those around them.