As Georgia restaurants have been given the green light to reopen their restaurants for dine-in service, with restrictions, as early as today, a group of more than 50 restaurant owners in Atlanta and Savannah, have prepared a unified statement that will be published as a full-page, paid advertisement in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in Tuesday's print and e-paper version.
The group is operating under the hashtag #GAHospitality together. Collectively, its owners operate more than 120 restaurants, the majority in greater Atlanta. None of these operators has announced plans to reopen for dine-in service.
The #GAHospitality statement emphasizes the responsibility of restaurant owners in managing their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and their role in safeguarding the health and welfare of guests and employees.
“We agree that it’s in the best interest of our employees, our guest, our community, and our industry to keep our dining room closed at this time,” it reads.
The ad bears the name of each restaurateur along with their place or places of business.
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The AJC’s newsroom learned about plans for this ad from restaurateur Fred Castellucci of Castellucci Hospitality Group, which operates Atlanta restaurants the Iberian Pig, Cooks & Soldiers, Double Zero, Bar Mercado, Recess and Sugo. Castellucci is among those spearheading the #GAHospitality effort.
The document was drafted by Ryan Pernice of RO Hospitality, which operates Table & Main and Osteria Mattone in Roswell and Coalition Food and Beverage in Alpharetta.
Veteran chef and restaurateur Linton Hopkins is also among those listed in the paid advertisement. “We don’t believe, for us, this is the right time to open. It’s hard to navigate these waters. We’re tryingto navigate a path that is not divisive,” said Hopkins. “The bottom line: We recognize everyone is facing incredible decisions. Safety is our top priority. We won’t be opening our restaurants at this time. That statement is going to change. We’re not saying everyone has to open at the same time.”
“We’re are not here to blame anybody that is not on this list. I don’t want to play in the politics of division,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins emphasized that the statement is not one that was drafted by the Georgia Restaurant Association. “This is more of a grassroots kind of thing,” he said.