Georgia is taking another step toward normalcy this week as restaurants move to resume dine-in services, abiding by certain restrictions provided by Gov. Brian Kemp (R).
Kemp signed an executive order last week, providing guidance on “reviving a healthy Georgia in response to COVID-19″ and outlining requirements for restaurants across the state to reintroduce dine-in services. The order limits the number of patrons in the establishment to no more than 10 per 500 square feet.
It also provides limits to party size (no more than six), places a ban on buffets, salad bars, and self-serve stations, and requires employees to wear face coverings:
This evening, I signed an Executive Order for Reviving a Healthy Georgia with our plan for the safe reopening of specific sectors of Georgia’s economy with limited operations. Read the order here: https://t.co/UA9bDXistu #gapol
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) April 23, 2020
While some restaurants are opting to remain closed for the time being, others, like Plucked Up Chicken & Biscuits in Columbus, took the plunge. According to Press Herald, “eight regulars showed up Monday morning to have their coffee and breakfast and ‘chatted at each other across the room,’ manager Alesha Webster said.”
The restaurant is abiding by the governor’s strict restrictions, sanitizing, limiting the number of patrons in the facility, and requiring employees to wear masks:
As a small business, the outbreak has been brutal, even though they’ve been offering to-go orders, Webster said. The decision to reopen for dine-in service was a difficult one, she said.
“You don’t want people to bash you because you’re just trying to make ends meet,” she said.
Sixes Tavern in Cartersville also announced that it is resuming dine-in services on Monday, assuring customers the establishment is “strictly observing all the Governor’s guidelines and then some”:
We are back and ready to serve! We will be strictly observing all the Governor’s guidelines and then some to ensure…
Hundreds of Waffle Houses across the state will also begin to introduce limited dine-in options “that incorporates the requirements Governor Brian Kemp enumerated in his most recent executive order,” Njeri Boss, Waffle House director of public relations, said per AJC.
Other restaurants, like several in downtown Augusta, are waiting to reopen their doors.
“What I’ve heard from folks to include our restaurant owners is they’re not opening at this point — particularly those that are in downtown Augusta,” Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said.
“They’re going to continue to shelter in place and provide take out service only at this point but in terms of allowing dine-in, we’re just not ready for that in Georgia. I can certainly say we’re not ready for that in Augusta,” Davis added.