Story at a glance
- The group published an ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, stating it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep dining rooms closed at this time.
- Georgia has allowed businesses to open with some restrictions.
- The state reported 1,000 new cases Friday.
More than 120 restaurants in Atlanta are refusing to open their dining rooms to patrons until they believe it’s safe, despite Georgia’s decision to allow restaurants and other businesses to start reopening this week amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Chefs and restaurant owners have come together to pushback against the state law allowing restaurant dining rooms to reopen with some restrictions, forming the “#GAHospitalityTogether” initiative. The group includes award-winning chefs Ford Fry, Anne Quatrano, Hugh Acheson and Mashama Bailey.
“We agree that it’s in the best interest of our employees, our guests, our community and our industry to keep our dining rooms closed at this time,” a statement from the group published in an ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reads. “Recognizing that each operator faces incredibly difficult decisions on the path ahead, we affirm the fact that public safety is the top priority as we navigate this challenge. These uncommon times call for uncommon leadership. We stand united in our resolve to emerge stronger, safer and more steadfast than before.”
The ad bears the name of each restaurateur with their place or places of business.
Fred Castellucci, CEO of Castellucci Hospitality Group, is one of the restaurant owners spearheading the initiative, and says the decision to remain closed was difficult, according to Business Insider.
“It’s what we feel is best for the safety and health of our restaurants, our teams and our customers right now, and as we see cases drop to a low enough number, we’ll evaluate the risk factors and begin to implement our reopening plans,” Castelluci told Business Insider.
Georgia’s guidelines require restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity if they do decide to open their dining rooms up to restaurant goers.
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As Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp started lifting the state’s shelter-in-place order for most of its residents, the state reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total of 27,023 confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, compared to 26,000 confirmed cases the day prior, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At least 1,147 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the state.
Public health officials have warned about a rebound in cases if shelter-in-place orders are lifted too quickly, while it was reported in a study released Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to continue for 18 to 24 months.
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