COVID-19 cases continue to soar in Georgia as the highly transmissible Delta variant sweeps through the state, especially among unvaccinated people. Just 41 percent of Georgia residents are currently fully vaccinated.
City of Atlanta reimposed a mask mandate recently requiring all people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks indoors in public places, including inside private businesses like restaurants and bars. The mandate follows the release of updated mask guidance by the CDC, recommending fully vaccinated people also wear face coverings within “public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.”
New data on the Delta variant suggests that vaccinated individuals have the potential to spread this strain of the virus. While breakthrough COVID-19 cases do occur in vaccinated people, most who become infected appear asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms.
With this exponential rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Georgia, predominantly among unvaccinated individuals, and temporary closures of several Atlanta restaurants due to breakthrough cases, the industry faces yet another difficult dilemma, not unlike the divide caused by mask mandates last year.
Risking public backlash, some Atlanta restaurants instated new COVID safety policies requiring patrons to provide a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination, or both before dining inside. These businesses join a growing list of establishments across the country with similar no vaccination, no service policies in cities like San Francisco, New York City, Detroit, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.
It should be noted that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) does not prohibit retail stores or restaurants from asking people for proof of vaccination or from answering any other health-related questions. Individuals can refuse to provide this information. However, asking for this information by a restaurant or retail shop is not a violation under HIPAA, which prohibits the release of personal health information and records by a doctor, physician’s office, or hospital, health insurance or billing company, or other “covered entities” under the Act without an individual’s prior consent.
Eater plans to track new COVID-19 safety policies instituted at Atlanta and metro area restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, including mask and vaccine mandates, requiring negative COVID-19 test results, capacity limits, and indoor dining closures. Be sure to check back for updates and additions to this list.
Know of an Atlanta or metro area restaurant, bar, or entertainment venue implementing a mask or vaccine mandate, requiring negative COVID-19 test, or instituting other safety measures? Send Eater the details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find a local vaccination site here.
Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results
(click links for each restaurant below to read specific requests per establishment)
Ameris Bank Amphitheatre (Live Nation proof of vaccination/negative COVID-19 test starting Oct. 4)
Coca-Cola Roxy (Live Nation proof of vaccination/negative COVID-19 test starting Oct. 4)
Buckhead Theatre (Live Nation proof of vaccination/negative COVID-19 test starting Oct. 4)
Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood (Live Nation proof of vaccination/negative COVID-19 test starting Oct. 4)
The Eastern (AEG Entertainment proof of vaccination starting Oct. 1)
Indoor capacity limits
(click links for each restaurant below for specifics)
East Atlanta Village
Midway Pub: No bar seating
(click links for each city/restaurant below to read mandate specifics)
Athens-Clark County: At all public places and private businesses indoors, including bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
City of Atlanta: At all public places and private businesses indoors, including bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues in the city.
City Winery: Inside all U.S. locations
Decatur: Inside all city buildings, DeKalb County facilities, Decatur schools. At all public places and private businesses indoors. Businesses opting out must post signage at public entrances indicating noncompliance.
Henry County: Includes inside government buildings and property.
Savannah: Includes inside government buildings and property, hospitals, schools, guided tours in vehicles, public transportation. Employees and patrons of restaurants, bars, and private businesses strongly encouraged to wear masks indoors.