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For the Second Time, Little Rey Closes After Employees Test Positive for COVID-19

As COVID-19 cases rise in Georgia, three more Atlanta restaurants opt to temporarily close after employees tested positive for the virus

Little Rey on Piedmont Avenue closes for a second time after staff members test positive for COVID-19
Ryan Fleisher
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Georgia, three more Atlanta restaurants opt to temporarily close after employees tested positive for the virus last week.

Little Rey in Piedmont Heights, Firepit Pizza Tavern in Grant Park, and the Brookhaven outpost of Pure Taqueria reported multiple staff members testing positive for COVID-19. All three restaurants have chosen to close for deep cleaning and to test employees.

This is the second time Ford Fry’s chicken al carbon restaurant on Piedmont Avenue has closed due to employees contracting COVID-19. Little Rey, which closed on Thursday, June 18, plans to reopen on Monday, June 29, barring any new cases among its employees, who are being asked to self-isolate during the closure.

“When we closed down, one employee had tested positive. Since we have closed down, one other employee has tested positive. Both employees hold positions in the back of house,” a representative speaking on behalf of Little Rey tells Eater Atlanta in an email. “Though we aren’t required to shut down the restaurant, when we did, we did so voluntarily and out of caution for our staff and guests. No employees will be coming back to work until they have self-isolated for 10 days and been symptom free for a minimum of three days, as per state guidelines.”

One employee at Firepit Pizza Tavern located at the Larkin on Memorial complex in Grant Park has tested positive. No other employees tested positive for the virus and the pizzeria reopened Monday, June 22. Two employees tested positive for COVID-19 at Pure Taqueria’s Brookhaven restaurant. Neither employee has worked at the restaurant since June 13, according to a response by Pure Taqueria to a comment on the Facebook post. Some commenters on the post claim seeing Pure employees with masks pulled down to their chins and away from their mouths, noted feeling “uncomfortable,” and expressed concern over the lack of social distancing at the restaurant. Another commenter stated they ended up leaving the Brookhaven restaurant after seeing little social distancing in place and employees not wearing their masks properly.

Brookhaven-based barbecue restaurant Dixie Q closed on June 12 upon learning one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. The restaurant reopened two days later. Farm Burger in Dunwoody also temporarily closed in early June after an employee in the kitchen tested positive for the virus. It, too, has since reopened.

According to 11Alive News, the Georgia Department of Public Health recorded the highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since mid-April this past Saturday — around 1,800 new cases in a single day, with a significant increase in cases over a two-week period.

It should be noted that Georgia businesses and restaurants are not legally bound to disclose to the public when employees test positive for COVID-19 and are not mandated to close by the state. Closing is voluntary.

As of June 16, Georgia restaurants will no longer be required to limit the number of people in a dining party or adhere to capacity limits per square foot in the dining room. Bars are also allowed up to 50 people or 35 percent total capacity.

Eater Atlanta reached out to the restaurants for comment and details on the closures.

Update, June 22, 4:10 p.m.: This story has been updated with comments from a representative for Little Rey.

Stay home if sick. Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for guidance and updates on the latest number of reported COVID-19 cases.

Farm Burger

882 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, , CA 94960 (415) 785-4802 Visit Website

Dixie Q

2524 Caldwell Road Northeast, , GA 30319 (404) 228-1502 Visit Website

Little Rey

1878 Piedmont Avenue Northeast, , GA 30324 (770) 796-0207 Visit Website

Firepit Pizza Tavern

519 Memorial Drive Southeast, , GA 30312 (404) 495-4777 Visit Website