Restaurants dine-in service, theaters allowed to reopen today

ATLANTA — All eyes are on Georgia this morning as the state becomes one of the first in the nation to reopen restaurants.

Georgia restaurants have been allowed to continue carryout and delivery orders, but starting today, dining rooms can reopen.

“This is a dress rehearsal for the entire country,” said Bo Peabody, a member of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “If this goes well, I think most restaurants in Atlanta will be open by the middle of May. If it doesn’t, then I think the whole country will be set back by a month or two. That’s the risk.”

Gov. Brian Kemp released an executive order last week, outlining the safety requirements for restaurants to reopen. You can read the full text of the order HERE.

One requirement includes only allowing 10 diners per 500 square feet of dining room space. Tables will be at least six feet apart and servers and restaurant staff will be wearing face masks.


Some restaurant owners said the biggest hurdle will be paying for your meal without contact.

Restaurants are looking for ways to use technology so that you are not handing off your credit card or cash to pay for meals.

Movie theaters and private social clubs are also included in what’s allowed to reopen today. Many national chains including AMC and Regal say they will remain closed.

Have questions about the spread of coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

Atlanta-based Waffle House reopened its dining rooms Monday morning. Company spokesperson Njeri Boss showed Channel 2 Action News inside a Brookhaven location how the restaurants will implement changes.

Big red tape blocked off some of the booths and a few bar stools were also off limits to maintain social distancing.

Some people do not agree with the governor’s decision to allow dining rooms to reopen. But Boss believes many of the critics may be able to work from home and get paid while their workers cannot.

“It’s very easy to say we shouldn’t be, when you still have all of those things," Boss said. "We want to be here to make sure everybody who wants to take care of themselves and their families can do it. That’s the American Way.”

Waffle House’s CEO told us that they are not making any employees return to work if they are not comfortable doing so.

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