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Decatur closes restaurants, but allows take-out orders and off-premises sales of alcohol

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Decatur closes restaurants, but allows take-out orders and off-premises sales of alcohol

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Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett gave the State of the City speech on Jan. 28. Photo by Zoe Seiler


This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA – Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett on March 19 pulled the trigger on closing restaurants to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Garrett tried to find a way to keep the restaurants open while encouraging restaurants to switch to takeout and to-go orders. But by Thursday afternoon, she had issued a Public Health Emergency Order requiring restaurants to close their dining rooms.

The order does allow restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption. The order goes into effect immediately.

City Manager Andrea Arnold explained how the city intends to enforce the order.

“The city is working to make sure that all impacted businesses are aware of the emergency order,” Arnold said. “The order was just signed late this afternoon. I am sure some businesses are just now learning of it. We will enforce the order in a manner similar to the enforcement of other city ordinances. An officer will make contact with the manager or owner and provide a verbal notice and may provide a copy of the order, if needed, and answer any questions they may have about the order. If the business continues to fail to comply after the verbal notice, then a citation may be issued. Again, this is consistent with how we enforce other city ordinances.”

Here is the full announcement and the mayor’s emergency order:

On Thursday, March 19, City of Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett issued a Public Health Emergency Order that prohibits on-premises dining at restaurants; allows take-out and delivery services between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily; and allows restaurants with a current alcoholic beverage license to sell beverages for off-premises consumption in sealed containers; and prohibits gatherings of more than 50 persons.

Several City of Decatur restaurants have already voluntarily transitioned to a take-out and/or delivery model, closing their in-person dining facilities in order to reduce community transmission of the COVID-19 virus in response to CDC guidelines.

At the March 16, 2020 meeting, the City Commission passed a Resolution declaring a Public Health State of Emergency in the City of Decatur which grants the Mayor certain powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City. In introducing the Resolution Mayor Patti Garrett noted that while there has been a State of Emergency declared at both the state and the national level, an emergency declaration by the City ensures that the city is able to work at the local level in a very quick and expedient manner if necessary.

Residents are encouraged to continue to support our local businesses, including taking advantage of pick-up and delivery services.

To see a copy of the order, click here.

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