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Some gyms, salons open doors under new rules, others remain reluctant

While some businesses opened their doors under Gov. Kemp's order on Friday, ready to go to work, others felt a need for more caution.

ATLANTA — Self-care has been on the back-burner for many people all over Georgia for more than a month. But, on Friday, some salons and gyms opened their doors under Gov. Brian Kemp's order.

Not all salons or gyms are willing to roll out the welcome mat, however, until they feel it's safe.

"We have seating for everyone out here," said Andrea Vanderham of Buckhead salon Human Canvas. "We are taking temperatures by the door."

The salon opened its doors on Friday.

"The announcement was a bit abrupt, so we only had a short time to prepare," she said. "So, I will be seeing the clients I have scheduled and then I will be shutting down until things are more certain."

Another Buckhead salon, Van Michael, also opened on Friday, but only after sending out a two-page email to customers mentioning a liability waiver that they would have to sign before obtaining service.

Despite everything going on, Vanderham said her customers were asking her to open.

"I haven't worked in a month," she said. "So, there's a line of people who feel like they really need a haircut."

The sounds of salons across Atlanta were the same with clippers buzzing and scissors snipping.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia | More than 22,000 confirmed cases; nearly 900 deaths

It just looks a lot different now.

"I have a ton of gloves," said Vanderham. "We were lucky to get the supplies we need. I have an N95 (mask) on under this scarf. I will be wearing protective eyewear as well."

Not every stylist was able to get the protective gear they needed to open.

DeLeon owns DeLeon Barber in Buckhead and said he couldn't find the personal protective equipment required under the order.

"If I were to take all the precautionary measures that they're asking for, that's really difficult," DeLeon said. "It's hard to find masks right now, a lot of masks are on backorder. Clorox wipes, Lysol as you know -- it's nowhere to be found, so it's not easy, even if I did want to open."

He said he won't reopen until at least May 5 -- but his clients have been split on whether even that date is too soon.

"I want to be safe," he said. "I want to be there for my clients, and I want to make some money. It's a conundrum, for sure."

Both said sanitation is the cornerstone of cosmetology and their salons will be as clean as possible.

"We will do our absolute best to keep everyone safe," he said.

Orange Theory franchise owner Jamie Weeks said he's not sure when they'll re-open their studios.

"There's no playbook here. We are all learning as we go here," Weeks said. "When we found out Monday that the state was going to reopen, we were honestly shocked. I think all of us were."

They closed Orange Theory a week before Kemp mandated the closing. Weeks said they likely won't reopen their studios until long after they are allowed to.

"Our members have been very vocal that they're not ready, and our staff has as well," he said.

Members of other gyms that announced they would re-open were vocal as well.

Nyah Med Spa and LA Fitness both sent letters to members saying they would push back reopening plans after strong pushback.

Many gyms, though, still chose to open their doors.

Gold's Gym, for example, explained their safety procedures, including a sign on every other piece of cardio equipment.

"The big-box gyms are mandated to be one treadmill apart. We are going a step further -- two treadmills apart," the message stated. "We are not going to allow people to congregate in the lobby. We will text people when they can come in. They'll go straight to their stations."

But Weeks said Orange Theory members will need to wait a little while longer.

"We need to have a complete respect for everyone's opinion and a complete respect for the scientists and the data that's coming out," he said. "Which is why we are going to take our time and do what's in the best interest of our members and staff."

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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