Despite warnings from health officials and the CDC, and even a rebuke by President Donald Trump, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp moved 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 expired on Thursday, April 30, but the state’s public health emergency has been extended to June 12.
The 39 “minimum basic operations” guidelines for restaurants to follow in order to reopen mostly mimic the guidelines set 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 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.
Businesses and restaurants must comply with these state-mandated guidelines through at least May 13. It’s unclear if the governor plans to extend this guideline period beyond that date.
Several Atlanta-area restaurants have already confirmed plans to reopen for dine-in service this week or over the coming week. Scroll down for full list.
At local Waffle House locations, dining rooms reopened Monday, April 27, with limits to the number of people allowed to dine inside, as mandated in the required guidelines from Gov. Kemp. Waffle House will also continue with “enhanced sanitation, stringent personal hygiene practices,” spacing out seating, and screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms.
A representative for Castleberry Hill spot Escobar Restaurant & Tapas told Eater last Thursday morning that the restaurant would reopen the dining room on April 27 and put stringent protocols in place, including having staff take temperatures before shifts and wear gloves and masks at all times. That same representative confirmed to Eater last Friday evening the decision had been reversed and the restaurant would remain closed for dine-in service until further notice.
Northwest of the city, the Marietta Daily Journal reports that restaurants including Douceur de France and Marietta Diner do plan to reopen. Marietta Square Market, which had previously planned to reopen the patio for outdoor dining, has now decided to keep it closed until further notice.
“The plans to accommodate patio seating at the Market have changed,” a representative tells Eater Atlanta. “Our dining and patio seating will remain closed at this time, but the options for curbside pickup, takeout, and delivery will still be available.”
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.
If you know of other metro Atlanta restaurants reopening for dine-in service, send Eater the details to firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm.
Here’s a confirmed list of restaurants planning to reopen for limited dine-in service once they have processes in place to implement Gov. Kemp’s new guidelines.
Metro Atlanta Area
Goldberg’s Fine Foods (opening May 1)
Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar (May 1, patio only)
1920 Tavern (source: AJC)
Chicago’s (and East Cobb)
Land of Thousand Hills Coffee (outdoor seating only)
Rock n Taco (opening May 1)
Shanghai Chinese Food & Bar (patio only)
Havana Sandwich Shop (patio only)
Brack’s Kitchen (patio only)
Twin Peaks (also Kennesaw)
Petite Violette (opening May 7)
Park Tavern (check Instagram for updates)
Char Korean (patio only)
Old Fourth Ward
The Roof at Ponce City Market (reopening May 4)
Boxcar at Hop City (May 1, patio only)
Update, April 24, 4:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect Marietta Square Market’s decision to keep the patio closed for dining until further notice.
Update, April 24, 7:15 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that Escobar Restaurant & Tapas is likely not reopening next week.
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.