Some business owners are taking the risk of reopening their venues despite the coronavirus pandemic now that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has allowed restaurants and theaters to open as early as Monday.
2 Chainz is one example of an entrepreneur who isn’t letting the coronavirus stop him from opening up shop. But of course, the risks are still high and considering the rapper will reportedly allow hookah smoking at his restaurants, the risks could be even higher.
According to TMZ, two of his venues, Escobar Restaurant and Tapas will re-open for sit-down service starting Monday. His business partner and co-owner, Snoop Dillard, told TMZ that they’re making public safety a top priority.
TMZ reported that the venues will take particular safety precautions, including staff having their temperature checked when they clock in, mandatory gloves for all employees, masks for cooks and single-use paper menus. Staff members with coronavirus symptoms will be asked to retreat back to their home for a 14-day quarantine.
TMZ also reported that “the restaurants are bringing back hookahs, which will be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Most folks bring their own hoses anyways.”
The move still draws concern because specialists have found that smoking and vaping can increase your risk at contracting the coronavirus, according to WPTA21. “Both smoking and vaping cause inflammation in the lungs, and it’s actually inflaming the lining of the lungs which is exactly where the COVID-19 virus attacks,” explained Nancy Cripe of Tobacco Free Allen County.
New studies in China, the United States, and South Korea also found that smoking more than doubles the odds of disease progression in people who had already developed COVID-19. The FDA agreed that smokers and vapers are at a higher risk at having more severe coronavirus cases and they’re more likely to contract it in the first place.
“If you’re smoking or vaping, you’re doing this all the time. You’re constant hand to mouth. So if anything’s on your hands, any virus is on your hands, we’re doing exactly what we’re not supposed to be doing, bringing your hands to your mouth and to your face,” Cripe says.
Cripe added that smokers and vapers also have a high risk of spreading the virus. “That deep breathing in and exhaling hard, certainly at greater risk of spreading it to others,” Cripe said.
It’s not clear whether 2 Chainz and Snoop considered these risks when deciding to reopen in-person dining and reintroduce hookah.
Meanwhile, many Black businesses across Atlanta have decided not to reopen in-person, especially when considering the devastating impact the coronavirus has had on Black people.
Rapper Killer Mike, who owns a chain of barbershops with his wife, told TMZ, “At this time as a business, we aren’t comfortable opening. So we’re going to wait a while before we reopen.” He went on to explain how the coronavirus has been disproportionately hitting the Black community and this is the group that his business caters to. “We don’t want our customers and our barbers in danger,” he said.