After closing bars and limiting restaurants to takeout only Thursday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has officially signed an order allowing the city’s restaurants to offer beer and wine to-go for “off-premises consumption.” The order does not include options for open containers or liquor, and expires in 60 days.
Georgia House District 89 Representative Bee Nguyen spent most of Thursday working with the Georgia Restaurant Association to clarify and provide provisions for Bottoms to allow Atlanta restaurants to temporarily sell unopened beer and wine via a “simple beer and wine package license.”
This order could provide a much-needed revenue boost for city restaurants grappling with sudden and steep declines in sales and having to lay-off or furlough staff, as they transition to takeout and delivery services. Restaurant owners and chefs, the Georgia Restaurant Association, and state and local legislators are currently pushing for financial assistance and relief for the state’s restaurant industry.
Most Atlanta restaurants had already voluntarily closed dining room service and transitioned to takeout and delivery or closed altogether to help prevent the spread of the virus, prior to Thursday’s mandate from Bottoms.
As of publication, 25 states across the country have mandated closures of restaurant dining rooms. Atlanta becomes the eighth major city to order such closures, joining Miami, Austin, Dallas, Forth Worth, Phoenix, Houston, and Washington, D.C.
Earlier this week, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and Decatur closed bars and suspended dine-in service at restaurants. On Wednesday, the city of South Fulton imposed a public curfew between 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. The City of Sandy Springs announced Friday its restaurants are now limited to takeout only.
NOTE: The novel coronavirus situation in Georgia is fluid and ongoing. Follow Eater Atlanta for continuing coverage on COVID-19’s impact on Atlanta’s restaurant industry. Additional stories are forthcoming.
Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for further guidance and updates on COVID-19.