NBA All-Star weekend: Atlanta bars, nightclubs clash with city officials over business

ATLANTA — Basketball fans are beginning to arrive in Atlanta today ahead of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.

That’s despite pleas from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for fans to stay away, and bars and nightclubs not to hold events in the city.

But that’s exactly what is happening. Local businesses are banking on fans coming to Atlanta and spending money.

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Even though there are no tickets for the event being held at State Farm Arena, many people just want to be in the atmosphere.

Many local nightclubs and bars have already said they plan to hold events for the game.

“It’s gonna be on and popping,” said Anthony Jennings, who is also know as DJ Urban Soul. “I got people coming down from DC, Virginia, Charlotte. People are still coming here.”

Andre Pounds, aka MyDJDre, said his All-Star celebration event will be safe. He said he will only fill 35% of the capacity of the event hall. He isn’t advertising the celebrities who plan to attend.

“We are abiding by all CDC guidelines,” Andre Pounds said.

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Atlanta police told Channel 2 Action News they are concerned about the parties becoming super spreaders.

They will have inspection teams checking the clubs and restaurants to make sure they are following CDC safety guidelines as well as city and state operating rules.

The department said they are opening up their joint operations center. The center will allow for police to coordinate in real time with other departments as well as state and federal partners.

The department is also making schedule changes.

“We have our men and women on 12 hour shifts off days canceled as well as selected members of other divisions and units also on 12 hour shifts and off days canceled,” said Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr.

Police also have a message for those who plan to come to Atlanta: Follow COVID-19 safety protocols, wear your mask and try to stay 6-feet apart. When it comes to safety, they want our visitors to know they will lock you up if you’re causing trouble.

“But we are prepared in Atlanta. If there is any type of crime or level of violence, my men and women are assigned to investigations. We are ready to do what we do every day and night to solve crimes and hold people who commit acts of violence within our city, to hold them responsible,” Hampton said.

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