AUGUSTA, Ga. – We’re wrapping up day one of the lifted COVID-restrictions in Georgia. From here on out, there is no state-wide ban on large gatherings and social distancing requirements have been cut back.
It has been a pretty busy day today downtown Augusta with these lifted restrictions.
Many restaurants have been allowed to have more people sitting down to eat. Before tables had to be spaced out six feet apart and now it is cut in about half.
But are restaurant-goers ready to flood back in?
“I’m gonna have to protect myself. And if I think I’m gonna need to put on a mask, then I’m gonna put it on,” said Georgian Judi Beltz, one downtown goer.
COVID restrictions were something she felt should be up to the individual person or business.
“But if it’s crowded and a place I want to be, if there’s a group of people in there I want to be with, I’ll assess the situation, I’ll carry my mask, and I’ll use it or not use it based on that,” said Beltz.
There’s no longer a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more so more people can file into our downtown restaurants.
When asked about Governor Brian Kemp’s plans, the mayor of Augusta Hardie Davis says to still proceed with caution.
“We need to be very measured in how we approach rolling back some of these measures, some of these protections that have been in place,” said Davis.
Some tell us they’re trying to be careful on their own.
“If it were a bit crowded, I’d probably pick another place,” said Troishonna Maloy, downtown goer.
For others, it’s a little bit harder to avoid the temptation.
“If you walked into a restaurant and saw that those tables are not 6 feet apart, would you still wanna eat there? Probably. (laughs) I probably would,” said Makayla Newton, another downtown goer.
But Augusta isn’t back to normal just yet. Employees of bars and restaurants are still required to wear masks while working.
But the new executive order means police can’t shut a restaurant down for not following those rules.
“This virus is real, it’s taking people’s lives, and it’s causing us to have to be measured in everything that we do,” said Mayor Davis.