‘The city is not ready’: Albany business owners plan to temporarily stay closed despite governor’s announcement

Updated: Apr. 21, 2020 at 10:52 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - On Monday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that as early as Friday, gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, tattoo shops, hair salons and barbershops, nail salons and massage therapists will be allowed to reopen.

Despite Kemp allowing those businesses to reopen, some salon owners said they won’t reopen for a few more weeks.

“Right now, Esuites doesn’t support Governor Kemp’s idea to open up the city, the city is not ready at this time, the city is hurting. We do not have the supplies that we need for the businesses to reopen,” said Patrick Ellis, one of the owners of Esuites LLC. in Albany.

Patrick and Regina Ellis have been in business since 2017 and said the safety of their staff and customers are their top priority.

“We have to make sure everything is in place. We need sanitizer, we need disinfectant solutions. We have to make sure the businesses that come in because we house 10 other businesses, so we have to make sure the businesses that come in have everything that they need to be safe," explained Regina.

Regina Ellis, owner of E Suites.
Regina Ellis, owner of E Suites.(WALB)

Governor Kemp is allowing non-essential businesses to reopen if they comply with social distancing requirements.

Regina said it is impossible to stay away from customers and still provide the service that they need.

“There is no way that we can social distance because we are at least six feet away from our clients. And then when the stylists have to shampoo their clients here, the clients face is up in their face, their face is down in theirs. So it is risky, it is a risky decision that was made," said Regina.

Regina and Patrick said for those wondering about the finances of their staff, they said they have got them covered.

“We are basically giving them free rent until this virus thing is over with. Also, we are giving a reduced rent when we come back to work. We are taking all the steps we can to financially help all our tenants and we hope that everyone reaches out to their tenants and their renters and make sure they do the same thing for their people," said Patrick.

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