US death toll tops 50,000 as southern state lifted restrictions - GulfToday

US death toll tops 50,000 as southern state lifted restrictions


Emergency Medical Technicians wheel a man out of the Cobble Hill Health Centre nursing home. Reuters

Gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors had a green light to reopen on Friday in the state of Georgia as the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.

As the southern state lifted restrictions on a list of businesses that also included nail salons and bowling alleys, President Donald Trump warned that Governor Brian Kemp may be moving too fast.


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"Spas, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, & barber shops should take a little slower path," Trump tweeted.

At the same time, Trump said he had told Kemp, a Republican ally, "to do what is right for the great people of Georgia (& USA)!"

The mixed messaging was the latest from a president whose remarks from the White House podium have frequently raised eyebrows, including most recently a suggestion that disinfectant could be injected to treat patients with COVID-19.

Shoppers at The Home Depot wait in line before entering. File photo/AP

Trump sought to walk back his disinfectant comments on Friday, claiming somewhat unconvincingly that he had been speaking "sarcastically."

With much of the country on lockdown for a month, customers showed up early at several Georgia shops.

Chris Edwards, owner of the Peachtree Battle Barber Shop, saw his first customers in line at 7:00 am.

He said he was "happy" about being allowed to reopen his store in an Atlanta strip mall, where most establishments remained closed.

"I'm a small businessman," Edwards told AFP as he gave a trim to a middle-aged man.

"If I don't cut hair I don't make money," Edwards said. "We're being safe, we're being clean, it's all you can do."

Edwards was wearing a mask, but the customer was not.

Other shops followed more rigid rules. One Atlanta hair salon tested everyone's temperature as they entered, while a nail boutique northwest of the city required clients to sign waivers before receiving manicures.

Agence France-Presse

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