With COVID-19 cases surging in Georgia and Atlanta’s new mask mandate now in effect, dine-in service at Forza Storico at Westside Provisions District and Storico Fresco in Buckhead is shifting again to better protect the Italian restaurants’ employees and patrons. This includes temporarily shutting down the dining room at Forza Storico and reducing the already small dining space at Storico Fresco by 50 percent.
For now, only the patio and garden area at Forza Storico are available for dine-in service. Lunch is being temporarily discontinued at Storico Fresco. Both restaurants will not allow parties of over 10 people. Diners are required to wear masks until they are seated at their table. Reservations are strongly encouraged and will be staggered to allow for less people dining at one time.
On Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance bottoms signed an executive order requiring masks to be worn inside commercial businesses, other buildings and spaces open to the public within the city limits, and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. Those exempt from wearing a mask include people who are actively engaged in consuming food and drink.
Since reopening in May, co-owners Pietro Gianni, chef Michael Patrick, and Stephen Peterson reconfigured the dining rooms and patios to limit capacity and provide more space between tables. Servers, hosts, and bartenders are masked. Host stands were moved outdoors and away from people dining, and time limits were placed on those dining at the restaurants.
But navigating the challenges of running a restaurant safely during the ongoing pandemic continues to prove difficult, even with high-tech air filtration systems and Plexiglass dividers installed and social distancing measures and capacity limits in place.
In early June, an employee at Forza Storico contracted COVID-19. Although not required to close, Gianni, Patrick, and Peterson shut down the restaurant for nearly a week and tested every employee on the company’s dime. “This is just a tough time for the restaurant industry, and it seems like we can’t catch a break,” Gianni told Eater Atlanta at the time.
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.