ELGIN, S.C. (AP) — With South Carolina’s first coronavirus scorching spot only a brief jaunt up the freeway, Johellen Lee hadn’t been out for something however groceries for almost a month.
“I regarded like a hag,” she mentioned.
So she headed to see her finest pal and hair stylist Erica Nealy at her magnificence salon in Elgin — one of many companies that native and state governments throughout the South are arguing about whether or not to maintain open as they search to restrict the unfold of COVID-19.
“This job is crucial to me. It’s important to purchasing my groceries and paying my payments,” mentioned Nealy, sporting a disposable masks and gloves — one pink and one black — after spraying the salon chair with a bleach answer for her subsequent buyer Friday.
As a lot of the nation has closed every thing however meals shops and medical services, many locations down South stay open. Bars, sporting occasions and sit-down eating rooms are closed. However in lots of cities, staff of the native plant that closed for 2 weeks can nonetheless work out on the gymnasium or get their nails accomplished, hair trimmed, 15 minutes within the tanning mattress and provides for his or her yard pool.
Southern governors have resisted “stay-at-home” orders that might shut just about all companies. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster mentioned his folks comply with guidelines and are “courteous. They’re light. They’re good.” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves mentioned in a Fb question-and-answer session that “Mississippi’s by no means going to be China,” referring to the authoritarian nation’s close to whole shutdown of COVID-19 scorching spots. And Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp mentioned on a televised city corridor that he has to “govern the entire state,” together with locations with no coronavirus instances.
In a rustic as massive as the US and even in a person state, totally different responses could make sense with a virus like this one unfold by way of shut contact, mentioned Brian Bossak, a professor who teaches epidemiology and public well being programs on the School of Charleston.
“It’s not like a radioactive cloud that impacts everybody, in every single place in the identical method,” Bossak wrote in an e mail
The positions of their governors have left native governments within the South to move their very own orders requiring folks to remain house except going to the grocery retailer or for medical assist. The biggest cities in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama have all handed their very own guidelines closing nonessential companies which can be stricter than their governors’.
However even these orders have broad exemptions. In Charleston, South Carolina, nail salons and gymnasiums aren’t important companies. However dry cleaners and animal groomers are and might keep open.
“Being a small enterprise is tough sufficient as it’s. How do they select who will get to remain open and who goes below?” mentioned Aric Strickland, proprietor Leisure Life Swimming pools, Spas & Billiards in Lugoff, the place no native order has been handed.
Strickland says that with out his staff cleansing swimming pools and promoting chlorine, yard swimming pools would flip into mosquito traps and different well being hazards.
Strickland’s enterprise, like Nealy’s salon, is in Kershaw County, which has a inhabitants of about 66,500. As of Friday, the county had at the very least 70 of the state’s virtually 540 confirmed COVID-19 instances, the second most of any county within the state. Friday marked the primary day the county wasn’t on the high of the state’s record.
“I’m not afraid,” Strickland mentioned. “However I’m nonetheless Lysoling every thing down whenever you go away.”
The Kershaw County authorities has strongly urged everybody keep house however not backed that by regulation. The opposite companies within the strip mall with Nealy — Elgin Flowers and Presents, Doggy Do’s and The Piano Barn — closed voluntarily.
Enterprise is down for Nealy. She misplaced a $200 hair shade appointment for Saturday from somebody who doesn’t need to enterprise out. That will have paid for groceries for the week. Her margins are narrowing on the opposite finish too. That field of protecting gloves that value $9 in February and she or he won’t put on or use for a couple of consumer now prices $15 and will get worn and trashed after every particular person.
Nonetheless, Nealy’s enterprise isn’t threatened for now like barber retailers and sweetness salons in Columbia, which handed a stay-at-home ordinance that begins early Sunday morning. The state capital is in Richland County, which has six instances as many individuals as neighboring Kershaw County and was third within the state Friday with at the very least 65 coronavirus instances.
Patrick Goodman sat in his barber chair Thursday at a store on Principal Road in Columbia, scrolling by way of social media for information in regards to the Metropolis Council assembly the place the order handed whereas ready for a buyer.
“I determine I can shut for a month. However I’m accomplished after that,” Goodman mentioned.
Requested if he’s taking any precautions in opposition to the virus, Goodman motions to a small pump bottle of hand sanitizer by the entrance door after which the sink close to his chair.
A short while later, Keith Donaldson got here in for a haircut after his shift at a hospital.
“You’ll be able to’t cease dwelling your life. All you are able to do is watch out,” Donaldson mentioned.
Requested if anything is totally different because the coronavirus modified a lot, Goodman laughed and replied: “Effectively, we will’t discuss sports activities. That may be the largest change.”
Observe Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.
Observe AP protection of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.