Owners of more than 120 of Georgia’s most popular restaurants announced this week they won’t be reopening their doors just yet, despite getting a green light to do so from the governor.
Gov. Brian Kemp said customers could again go to restaurants for dine-in service starting April 27 as long as eateries put in place measures to mitigate staff and guest exposure to coronavirus. The state has, so far, had more than 27,490 infections and at least 1,169 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In a full-page advertisement in a local newspaper, more than 50 restaurateurs said they would hunker down a little longer.
“We pledge ourselves to act as custodians of the public’s trust,” the statement reads. “(…) Recognizing that each operator faces incredibly difficult decisions on the path ahead, we affirm the fact that public safety is the top priority as we navigate the challenge.”
About two weeks after putting its stay-at-home order in place, Georgia introduced the nation’s most aggressive reopening timeline, despite resistance from local leaders and health officials and a rebuke from President Donald Trump.
Federico Castellucci’s name is one of the dozens under the statement. Castellucci, who owns six restaurants including Bar Mercado in Atlanta, says while his restaurants have seen massive reductions in sales, he’s trying to think long-term and do his part to help avoid a second or third stay-at-home order.
“I think the thing we all need to be focused on is not just how do we get things moving next week, next month but how do we get things moving for the rest of the year, how do we get things moving until there’s a legitimate antiviral or vaccine,” Castellucci says.