The curfews were intended to keep people off the streets after dark and prevent damage to property. Last weekend saw hundreds of people gather throughout Atlanta in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. Several restaurants in downtown Atlanta and Buckhead sustained damage during the protests last Friday and Saturday evenings.
Since protests began last weekend, 532 people have been arrested. No arrests were reported during the protests on Friday and Saturday.
A week of nightly curfews saw restaurants and bars throughout Atlanta closing early to comply and allow patrons and employees to get home safely. On Friday, the city clarified the exemptions to the curfew order to include essential businesses like restaurants. People could still travel throughout the city by car, but not by foot or any other form of transportation, such as by bicycle, on the streets.
The nightly curfews put further financial strain on restaurants and bars already reeling from state-mandated closures and reduced capacity requirements due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Atlanta restaurants and recently opened bars in the city adjusted hours to close earlier than planned throughout the week in order to provide employees time to thoroughly clean establishments and return home safely.
Atlanta joined a number of U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Philadelphia, with nightly curfews in place. Last Saturday, Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order allowing nearly 3,000 National Guard troops to deploy to assist local and state law enforcement in Atlanta during the protests this week.
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.
Eater Atlanta wants to hear from Atlanta restaurants and restaurant workers regarding the curfews this week. If your restaurant closed or adjusted hours due to the curfews, or you’re a restaurant worker who lost income because of curfew-related closures and adjustments to operations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update, 9:25 a.m., June 7: This story has been updated to note the lifting of the curfew on Sunday, June 7.