The city of Atlanta is headed into a fourth night of curfew, beginning at 9 p.m. and ending at sunrise on Wednesday, June 3. As with the previous nights, people traveling to and from work or engaged in work activities after the curfew begins will not be subject to arrest by the Atlanta Police Department. This likely includes members of the working press. But it’s unclear who else is covered under the “work activities” umbrella.
Eater Atlanta reached out to the mayor’s office for clarification.
The move was prompted by five consecutive days of protests in Atlanta over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Several restaurants in downtown Atlanta and Buckhead were damaged by a small group of people during protests held on Friday and Saturday evenings. The curfew is intended to keep people off the streets after dark and prevent further damage to property.
The curfew in the city of Atlanta has been extended starting tonight, June 2, 2020 at 9 P.M. and continuing through sunrise tomorrow June 3, 2020. Please stay home. pic.twitter.com/vpZkTDb1Lh— City of Atlanta, GA (@CityofAtlanta) June 2, 2020
However, the back-to-back curfews over the last four nights are also forcing Atlanta restaurants already under immense financial strain due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to close early, in order to provide employees time to thoroughly clean establishments and return home before curfew began. For those workers who ride public transportation, MARTA will not suspend rail and bus service once the curfew begins this evening. On previous nights, MARTA required people to board trains by no later than 8:30 p.m. The Atlanta streetcar is suspended for the rest of the day due to blocked streets.
Despite the disruption to business caused by these curfews, restaurants around Atlanta continue to express support for the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement. Many restaurants are sharing links to bail funds, closing in solidarity or to attend rallies, sending hundreds of bottles of hand sanitizer to protesters at marches around the city, donating to social justice nonprofits or victims’ families, and reminding Atlantans to vote next Tuesday.
Atlanta is one of a number of U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Philadelphia, to issue nightly curfews with National Guard troops deployed to help deal with the civil unrest. On Saturday, Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order allowing nearly 3,000 National Guard troops to deploy in order to assist local and state law enforcement in Atlanta during the protests.
Some experts are calling into question the effectiveness of curfews during these protests; coupled with increased police presence to enforce them, they say the curfews could cause further harm to communities of color and lead to more confrontational policing methods.