Most restaurants will keep dining rooms closed despite governor’s reopening order

Manuel’s Tavern in Poncey-Highland (Photo by Collin Kelley)

Gov. Brian Kemp’s controversial move to allow restaurant dining rooms to reopen starting Monday, April 27, doesn’t mean your favorite spot will be following that order. Not yet, anyway.

The governor’s order requires restaurants to follow 39 guidelines, including screening employees for signs of illness, requiring all employees to wear masks, and limiting capacity to no more than 10 patrons per 500 square feet in the dining rooms. You can download Kemp’s order with all the guidelines at this link.

Waffle House is one notable exception, announcing last week that it would begin reopening for dine-in service on Monday. Call or check online to see if your favorite  location is open.

However, many local restaurants have posted on social media that they will remain closed except for delivery or takeout.

Two of Atlanta’s institutions – Manuel’s Tavern in Poncey-Highland and The Colonnade on Cheshire Bridge Road – both posted on Facebook that they will remain closed for now.

“”My phone has been blowing up with tons of questions from staff and regular customers asking if we’re going to open on Monday. The answer is no,” Manuel’s owner Brian Maloof posted.

Manuel’s has been completely closed since the pandemic began, but plans to start offering takeout soon. “We will continue doing to-go only until I’m convinced that it’s safe to open the tavern back up completely; it may be several weeks or longer. Don’t hate us for being safe,” Maloof said.

The Colonnade posted this on Facebook: “The governor is saying that restaurants can open but we won’t just yet. We closed March 16th for the safety of our employees and our customers. Our industry will see changes going forward. I just think it’s too early and want everyone to stay safe. We definitely miss everyone!”

Argosy in East Atlanta Village posted that “out of concern for the well being of our staff and guests and respect for the health care workers of Georgia we will not be reopening our dining room on April 27. We will continue to serve takeout food and package beer and wine until such time as the public health crisis has passed. Thank you for your support over the last month.”

Souper Jenny owner Jenny Levinson said on Twitter that the four locations would remain closed along with the hashtags #toosoon and #staysafeatlanta.

Chef Hugh Acheson, who owns Empire State South and By George, tweeted his ire about Kemp’s announcement directly to the governor:

  1. I agree to need to stay closed. I would also hesitate to order to go/takeout from a restaurant that is open to diners.

  2. I think it’s a balancing act. We need a strong economy and we need to stay healthy. I see nothing wrong with opening some of these businesses as long as employees have a choice to work or stay home. As for those who are not yet comfortable visiting these establishments, you DO have a choice to stay home or not.

    How about reporting on establishments that do plan on opening? I am of the belief that we must reach heard immunity and to do that we need to slowly lift the quarantine. I am not alone in this belief. Furthermore, I am healthy with no underlying medical conditions and am willing to take the risk. So please help out Georgia’s economy, the unemployed and those like myself by reporting on the businesses that will be opening.

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