Several Atlanta restaurants found violating COVID-19 safety guidelines

Several metro Atlanta restaurants have been cited by police and forced to temporarily close for violating the state’s enhanced safety guidelines meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Six metro area restaurants have been cited for violations

Several metro Atlanta restaurants have been cited by police and forced to temporarily close for violating the state’s enhanced safety guidelines meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Six restaurants were closed down due to over-crowding and violating social distancing guidelines during the month of May.

The state's guidelines, which were updated on May 12 to allow slightly higher occupancy, limit restaurants to 10 customers per 300 square feet of public space.

State authorities shared a list of warnings and citations issued to restaurants in the metro Atlanta area during the month of May. They included:

TJ's Bar and Grill in Roswell received a warning for over-crowding on May 1. The restaurant shut down voluntarily after the warning was issued. TJ's would later close permanently after its lease expired and the owners could not come to an agreement with their landlord.

El Toro Loco in Griffin was issued a written warning on May 6 when police officers responded to a complaint about the restaurant hosting a large Cinco de Mayo party. Responding officers reported that customers were dining at properly distanced tables outside of the restaurant, but that most tables had larger groups than allowed by the state’s guidelines. According to the incident report, the restaurant owner asked several tables of diners to split up to comply with the guidelines but they were not receptive to the request. When it became apparent that the crowd would not follow the social distancing guidelines, El Toro Loco shut down service and the crowd dispersed.

Ghost Bar in Sweet Auburn received a warning and shut down after police responded to a complaint on May 24. Officers reported hundreds of customers inside and not following social distancing guidelines. They issued a written warning and the manager shut down for the night.

Escobar Lounge, the restaurant and hookah bar owned by rapper 2Chainz and Mychel "Snoop" Dillard, was shut down twice in one 24-hour period. Officers first responded at 12:45 a.m. on May 24 to find the restaurant in violation of occupancy guidelines. The restaurant shut down, but later on May 24 at 11:22 p.m., the same police officer responded to a similar complaint. He spoke with a different manager, issued a second warning, and the restaurant was shut down again.

Chic Restaurant and Bar in downtown Atlanta received a warning on May 25. The responding officer reported overcrowding. After a written warning was issued, the manager closed the restaurant.

Encore Hookah Lounge and Bistro, also in downtown Atlanta, received a warning on May 26. State police responded to the scene after the Atlanta Police Department requested them to check the restaurant’s status. Responding officers reported overcrowding and issued a written warning to the restaurant’s manager who chose to close the restaurant to comply with the state guidelines.

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