Atlanta metro restaurants close as COVID-19 cases among staff increase

More than a dozen subway restaurants in Atlanta have temporarily closed due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The state reported more than 10,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in a single day on Thursday.

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The closures took place during the busiest season for local restaurants. The Ticonderoga Club is one of the restaurants that have chosen to close after positive cases of COVID-19 among their staff.

“December was going to be our best month of the year. We were going to be like, ‘Hey, we’re going to have a normal month,'” said Paul Calvert, Ticonderoga Club partner.

Temporary shutdowns have started happening on social media, including 8ARM, Lazy Betty, El Myr, Miller Union and Local Three. Restaurant 8ARM posted an article about the shutdown on Instagram saying that more than half of the 22 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

Calvert said the labor shortage was also impacting restaurants in the area, forcing many people to cut service and hours of operation.

“We do 25 to 30% less business than we are capable of because we don’t have the staff. I could keep my kitchen open later if I had more cooks, ”Calvert explained.

Many restaurants like the Ticonderoga Club have converted seats into take-out holiday markets to sell merchandise, gift cards, and alcohol to make up for lost income. Others are asking for donations to help keep their staff afloat during the peak of cases.

Calvert told FOX 5 that the fight is even greater without financial assistance from the federal government through the Paycheck Protection Program. This program ended in May 2021.

“I think Atlanta restaurants will be closed for Christmas and New Years this year, which is horrible,” Calvert said.

Restaurant owners suggest buying gift cards to support your favorite restaurant or ordering takeout. The Giving Kitchen also helps support food service workers who are in need.

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