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UPDATE: With other cities ordering restaurants to close, Decatur tries to compromise

Business COVID-19 Crime and public safety Decatur Food Kirkwood Metro ATL Tucker

UPDATE: With other cities ordering restaurants to close, Decatur tries to compromise

The interior of the Folk Art restaurant in Decatur. Photo provided to Decaturish
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Update: On Thursday afternoon, March 19, the city of Decatur issued a Public Health Emergency Order requiring restaurants to close their dining rooms. To see the full story, click here

Here is our original story …

Decatur, GA – Atlanta has become the latest city to close all of its restaurants as well as other businesses where people gather.

The closures are to help stop the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19. Dunwoody, like Atlanta, prohibited dine-in eating while allowing delivery and takeout. Brookhaven did too as did Clarkston.

But Decatur, with its bustling restaurant scene, hasn’t mandated that restaurants close.

The city has opted instead to promote takeout options, including making all city parking free for 30 minutes. Mayor Patti Garrett said the city also asked all restaurants to close by 9 p.m.

“We decided to take this step first,” Garrett told Decaturish.

At its last regular meeting, the City Commission granted Garrett emergency powers to deal with the evolving crisis.

In a letter to restaurants, the city commission said Gov. Brian Kemp has left many of the major decisions on closures to local cities.

“At this time, Governor Kemp has left decisions in the hands of local governments as he initially did with school closures,” the city commission’s letter says. “As we all know, recommendations are fluid and dynamic so there might be additional restrictions to come at the state level – we just don’t know at this time. In addition, there may need to be action at the local or regional level by executive decision.”

The letter acknowledges the difficult times the restaurant industry is facing.

“Decatur’s small businesses are an integral part of our community – please know that we are aware that what we are asking is a huge sacrifice,” the city commission said. “Thank you to each of you for what you do for this community. Of course, we will be checking in with you over the next few weeks and months to see how you are doing and to have conversations about your plans as we weather this time together. Decatur is a resilient and caring community and I know we will continue to be there for each other.”

Here’s the full letter:

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for taking precautions to protect your workers and your customers. We have been asking that restaurants use handwashing, social distancing, etc. to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Many of you have moved to no in-house dining, with takeout and curbside pickup or have even decided to close for a few weeks. Thank you to those who have already taken significant steps to protect our community. If you have not already done so, we are now asking that you implement the following changes:

1) Closure by 9 p.m.

2) Take out/curbside pickup only and/or delivery service

At this point, we are not mandating compliance but are strongly advising these actions through March 31, 2020. The most recent recommendations strongly encourage a 2-week pause to slow the spread of COVID-19 (link to CDC/White House guidelines).

At this time, Governor Kemp has left decisions in the hands of local governments as he initially did with school closures. As we all know, recommendations are fluid and dynamic so there might be additional restrictions to come at the state level – we just don’t know at this time. In addition, there may need to be action at the local or regional level by executive decision.

The Governor announced this week that Georgia has been approved for SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance program for COVID-19: sba.gov/disaster. The City will provide a site on its COVID-19 webpage with resources about government, non-profit and other assistance programs that may be useful to small businesses.

Decatur’s small businesses are an integral part of our community – please know that we are aware that what we are asking is a huge sacrifice. Thank you to each of you for what you do for this community. Of course, we will be checking in with you over the next few weeks and months to see how you are doing and to have conversations about your plans as we weather this time together. Decatur is a resilient and caring community and I know we will continue to be there for each other.

Sincerely,

Mayor Patti Garrett

Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers

Commissioner Kelly Walsh

Commissioner George Dusenbury

Commissioner Lesa Mayer

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