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Hotel owner welcomes guests, practicing safety measures after COVID restrictions lifted in Georgia

After removing all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, Governor Brian Kemp is being met with cautious optimism by one business owner.

ST. MARYS, Ga. — Georgia is officially returning to normal.

And after removing all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, Governor Brian Kemp is being met with cautious optimism by one business owner.

There’s plenty of signs that people are returning to a sense of normalcy. Many people are walking along the St. Marys Riverfront Pavilion, some with masks and some without on a partly cloudy Thursday. The RiverView Hotel in downtown has been booked solid for weeks.

RiverView Hotel co-owner Bert Guy says things are different now compared to the height of the pandemic.

“We had a more than two-month period where we didn’t have one hotel guest,” Guy said.

The hotel, along with Seagles Restaurant have seen a steady flow of traffic recently. Right now, all 18 hotel rooms at the inn are booked.

“I had some customers in here that haven’t been out of their home in 14 months,” Guy said.

He feels the fear of COVID is subsiding—with more vaccines going into arms.

Governor Kemp’s announcement means no more 6-foot-distancing requirements, no more gathering restrictions or enforcement.

Guy says he wants to balance safety with an open atmosphere in the hotel and restaurant.

“We want to comply with the rules and requirements and we also want to meet the needs and demands of our customers,” Guy said.

In the Seagles Saloon and Restaurant, Guy says they will continue to space out tables in the restaurant, although the outdoor dining section has been popular lately he says.