Despite warnings from health officials and the CDC, and even a rebuke by President Donald Trump, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is moving forward with his plan to reopen certain businesses across the state, beginning Friday, April 24. This includes allowing restaurants to resume dine-in service on Monday, April 27. Georgia’s shelter-in-place order for the public expires at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 30.
The 39 “minimum basic operations” guidelines for restaurants to follow in order to reopen were released on Thursday, April 23, and mostly mimic the guidelines for salons and spas. Those measures include: screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms, requiring employees to wear masks, staggering shifts, and limiting the number of people inside a business. Restaurants are also limited to ten diners per 500 square feet inside the dining room and bar area.
Additionally, Georgia’s restaurants must try to use disposable menus and contactless pay options, prioritize takeout and delivery over dine-in service, and posts signs at entrances stating no one is allowed in a restaurant who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or a fever.
But for businesses like hair salons and restaurants, maintaining the CDC-recommended six foot distance between people is not easily achieved. It’s a dangerous disadvantage in terms of operating safely during the ongoing pandemic.
So far, a small number of Atlanta-area restaurants have confirmed plans to reopen for dine-in service on Monday, April 27, or later in the week.
At local Waffle House locations, dining rooms are expected to reopen next week, with limits to the number of people allowed to dine inside. Waffle House will continue with “enhanced sanitation, stringent personal hygiene practices,” and screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms and is awaiting further requirements from Gov. Kemp to put into practice, says Njeri Boss, Waffle House director of public relations.
A representative for Castleberry Hills spot Escobar Restaurant & Tapas told Eater on Thursday morning that the restaurant will put stringent protocols in place, including having staff take temperatures before shifts and wear gloves at all times. Cooks must also wear masks at all time. Any employee registering a temperature of 100.4 or higher, or other COVID-19 symptoms, must leave the restaurant. Additionally, signs will be posted throughout restaurant stating that management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms, and seating is arranged for guests to maintain proper social distancing protocols.
Northwest of the city, the Marietta Daily Journal reports that restaurants including Douceur de France, Marietta Diner, and Marietta Pizza Company do plan to reopen, though some are awaiting further guidelines from the Georgia government. At Marietta Square Market, patio seating opens Wednesday, April 29, though dining inside the market remains closed until the end of May. Grand Champion BBQ, Lucky’s Burger and Brew, Ponko Chicken, and Forno Vero are continuing curbside pickup services, and other vendors expect to reopen for takeout in mid-May. The food hall is open for takeout. People can order inside or for curbside pickup and sit on the patio to eat, which now includes a reduced seating capacity.
If you know of other metro Atlanta restaurants reopening for dine-in service Monday or next week, send Eater the details to [email protected] to confirm.
Here’s a confirmed list of restaurants planning to reopen for limited dine-in service on Monday, April 27, or during the week, or once they have processes in place to implement Gov. Kemp’s new guidelines.
Escobar Restaurant & Tapas
Metro Atlanta Area
The Original Hot Dog Factory
Douceur de France
Johnnie MacCracken’s Celtic Pub
Marietta Pizza Company
Marietta Square Market (patio only; dining inside is not permitted)
Rocky Mountain Pizza
Stay home if sick. Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for guidance and twice-daily updates on the latest number of reported COVID-19 cases.
Source: Thanks https://atlanta.eater.com/2020/4/23/21232907/atlanta-georgia-restaurants-opening-dining-room-april27-2020-covid019