BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — Anticipating large crowds for the NBA All-Star weekend, metro city has extended serving hours until 4 a.m., but many feel the move is too soon with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The city of Brookhaven passed the ordinance this week. The move comes a short time after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms released a message to out-of-towners telling them the best thing they can do is stay home.
Channel 2′s Tom Jones spoke with Aubrey Villines with the Pink Pony. He strongly supports Brookhaven’s extension of the hours bars and restaurants can stay open before and during the NBA All-Star Game.
“I think it’s a great idea for businesses and a good place for people to come out and enjoy themselves in a safe manner,” Villines said.
He told Jones that he has no concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
“We wear our mask. We social distance. We check the temp when you come into the restaurant and the bar,” Villines said.
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The Brookhaven City Council voted to extend the hours restaurants and bars can pour liquor from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Sunday before and during the event.
On Saturday, they can stay open until 2:55 a.m.
Councilwoman Linley Jones said it’s not safe.
“We’ve got the pandemic and that’s why I specifically voted no,” Jones said.
Mayor Pro Tem Jo Gebbia said COVID-19 numbers are dropping and bar and restaurants won’t be overflowing with customers.
“We’re not encouraging parties, large parties. We have our enforcement as we normally would,” Gebbia said.
Gebbia said this is about helping businesses survive. He also doesn’t think there will be clogged streets like we saw in Atlanta the last time the game was here.
Jones still says it’s not safe.
“We know that those are dangerous hours they are dangerous hours in the clubs and they’re dangerous hours on our roads,” Jones said.
Gebbia said officers will be checking to make sure bars and restaurants adhere to public health guidelines.
He said the Chamber of Commerce will be handing out large amounts of personal protective equipment to businesses to help keep people safe.