As coronavirus cases surge, Atlanta restaurants face decisions on restrictions – Atlanta Journal Constitution

Amid a surge of COVID-19 infections and Atlanta’s plans to roll back reopening efforts, restaurants face decisions on their operations, with at least one already announcing it’s closing. 

In a Facebook post, the popular eatery Home Grown announced Saturday that it would close its doors following Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ decision to reinstate Phase 1 reopening guidelines

RELATED: Mayor orders rollback to Phase 1 reopening guidelines; governor calls it ‘unenforceable’

“Home grown is temporarily closed due to the mayor’s announcement,” the Memorial Drive restaurant posted on its social media accounts. “We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted on our return.”

The decision to revert back to Phase 1 reopening plans came Friday afternoon, two days after Bottoms’ decision to mandate the use of face masks in public.

ALSO: Atlanta mayor mandates wearing of masks in public

Under the reopening guidelines, restaurants should close dining rooms, non-essential city facilities should close and individuals are encouraged to leave home only for essential trips. 

Georgia has seen a recent spike in COVID-19 infections, with state health officials reporting a record 4,484 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

MORE: Georgia shatters record for daily coronavirus cases

The state is quickly approaching 3,000 coronavirus deaths, and more than 111,000 infections have been reported since the pandemic began. 

Though some Atlanta restaurants could be closing their dining rooms amid the mayor’s order, others are opting to follow the state’s guidelines, which are far less strict.

In the wake of Bottoms’ latest order, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called Atlanta’s implementation of Phase 1 reopening plans “legally unenforceable.”

“Mayor Bottoms’ action today is merely guidance — both non-binding and legally unenforceable,” Kemp tweeted Friday. “As clearly stated in the Governor’s executive order, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide.”

In a statement released Saturday, the Georgia Restaurant Association sided with Kemp, saying the “inconsistencies of different municipal orders” may be difficult to enforce and confusing for small business owners who are already struggling amid the pandemic. 

The Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which runs seven area restaurants, announced that its businesses would remain open despite the city’s latest restrictions. 

“According to the State of Georgia, we have the choice to stay open and we will be open normal business hours,” the group said in an Instagram post. “We proudly are giving our guests the choice to dine and our employees the choice to serve you.” 

Buckhead Life operates Atlanta Fish Market, Bistro Niko, Buckhead Diner, Chops Lobster Bar, Corner Café, Kyma and Pricci.

Other businesses, such as the high-end Buckhead sushi restaurant Umi, appeared to embrace the city’s mask mandate while remaining open for dine-in.

“We request that you enter Umi wearing a mask,” the restaurant told patrons on Instagram. “If you do not have a mask, please kindly ask the hostess to provide you a disposable mask. We ask that you keep the mask on at all times, unless you are seated at your table.”

As of lunchtime Saturday, the restaurant’s website still allowed customers to reserve tables for dinner service. 

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