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Some States Lifted Coronavirus Restrictions, but Did People Go Out?


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Some States Lifted Coronavirus Restrictions, but Did People Go Out?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/some-states-lifted-coronavirus-restrictions-but-did-people-go-out-11588172055?mod=hp_lead_pos12

After weeks of shutdowns to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, several states started easing their restrictions on nonessential businesses last weekend, welcoming customers back and letting some employees return to work. Data from Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina show people came out in trickles rather than droves, but travel, clothes and entertainment topped the list.

While retail foot traffic is still much lower than last year at this time, the three states showed a slight uptick compared with recent weekends when the social-distancing orders were in place, according to location-based data from analytics firm Unacast.

Easing Shutdowns

Retail foot traffic saw a slight bump over previous weekends in states that loosened restrictions.

Daily retail foot traffic

Daily retail foot traffic

Daily retail foot traffic

Daily retail foot traffic

In Georgia, more than 4 million people visited stores on Saturday, the most since March 19, before the state’s stay-at-home order went into effect. Saturday also brought the most foot traffic retail shops in Oklahoma and South Carolina have had since March.

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South Carolina started easing restrictions on nonessential businesses April 20, when Gov. Henry McMaster announced clothing, furniture and sporting goods stores, among other retailers, could open that day, as long as they limited occupancy and ensured customers could still social distance while there. Salons and barber shops in Georgia and Oklahoma were allowed to reopen Friday.

An employee at the Pretzel Twister store in the reopened Anderson Mall in Anderson, S.C., on April 24. South Carolina started easing restrictions on nonessential businesses April 20.



Photo:

Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg News

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp also allowed gyms and fitness centers to open Friday, with restaurants allowed to resume dine-in service Monday. His order allowing businesses to reopen has stirred controversy and Atlanta’s Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she disagrees with the governor and is asking people to stay home while the coronavirus pandemic persists.

The biggest draw in two of the states were travel-related, which includes visits to hotels, booking agencies, airports, train and bus terminals. Other popular destinations were clothing and shoe stores and health care, which includes dentistry and nursing homes.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to open some nonessential businesses this week was embraced by some while drawing protests from others. WSJ’s Cameron McWhirter reports from on the ground near Atlanta as business owners weigh saving their businesses and safety concerns. Photo: Ron Harris/AP

In the three states, about a million more people went to restaurants than the weekend before and about 70,000 more people went to entertainment venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys or sporting goods operations.

Around 90,000 more people went to nail salons, hair salons and barber shops. Many visits were often different experiences than they were before the coronavirus pandemic. At one nail salon in Georgia, women wore masks and the shop would only let three customers in at a time. At one hair salon in Atlanta, customers signed waivers and had their temperatures taken.

Sam Burgess waits as wife Ann Burgess gets a manicure in Marietta, Ga., on April 24. Salons and barber shops in Georgia and Oklahoma were allowed to reopen Friday.



Photo:

bita honarvar/Reuters

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