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Downtown Decatur Waffle House reopens after temporary closure due to COVID-19

Business COVID-19 Decatur

Downtown Decatur Waffle House reopens after temporary closure due to COVID-19

Jonah Wildgoose (center) glances over at Jason McLin as he shoves a waffle into his mouth during the championship round of the waffle eating contest at the Waffle House off of Decatur Square on Friday. Photo: Jonathan Phillips

Decatur, GA — Breakfast is being served again at the Waffle House on North McDonough Street. After being closed for about a year, the location reopened this week and has welcomed customers back into the dining room.

Waffle House closed over 400 locations in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. The Decatur location temporarily closed during the height of the pandemic as there was no customer traffic once the DeKalb County Courthouse, located across the street from Waffle House, closed.

“We did try to reopen it at one point before the courthouse reopened but there still wasn’t enough customer traffic to keep the store open and so this last time, I think, the courthouse has reopened about two weeks ago so we tried to make sure that we timed it with the reopening of the courthouse,” said Njeri Boss, vice president of public relations for Waffle House.

Currently, the restaurant is only open for first shift, which is 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the company will continue working toward being open 24 hours once the clientele and supply and demand dictate Waffle House can do so, Boss said.

“Our hope is that we’re able to continue to be a part of the community, be a good steward of the community. We consider ourselves a member of the community,” Boss said. “Each of our restaurants takes on the community that it serves and we’re hoping that we will be able to get back to serve the community as we were pre-pandemic. Be there for folks who work all different shifts, people who are looking for a hot meal, a nice place to come in and sit down for a few minutes and get something hot to eat, or be able to take it away.”

Waffle House has been impacted by the labor shortage, just as restaurants, the hospitality industry and many other businesses struggle to find workers. Boss said it has been a system-wide issue.

“We’re always hiring but this is a newer crunch and we’re looking for anyone who is ready, willing and able to work,” Boss said.

Waffle House is continuing to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to COVID-19. People who are vaccinated can choose whether or not to wear a mask and the company encourages those who have not been vaccinated to wear a mask.

“Just like other employers, we’re looking and hoping and doing the best we can. We appreciate people’s patience and ask that they continue to give us that grace as we try to get ourselves back to where we were to be able to serve them and give them the best customer service that we can,” Boss said.

Waffle House opened in downtown Decatur in 2016 and was a welcomed addition to the restaurant offerings in the city, said Angela Threadgill, planning and economic development director for the city of Decatur. The city was glad to see the restaurant reopen after being temporarily closed.

“The city of Decatur and its Downtown Development Authority are happy to see businesses recovering and reopening after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those that suffered in the local retail and restaurant business community,” Threadgill said.

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