“The operational, logistical and technological issues associated with curbside ordering and delivery have made it difficult to serve our customers safely and efficiently while maintaining adequate social distance to protect our team members,” he wrote.
The change will result in the layoff of 18 of the restaurant’s employees. It is the first time in the restaurant’s more than 90 years in business that its drive-in has been closed.
No date has been set for reinstating the drive-in component. “As we have seen recently, regulations locally and statewide change frequently. We can’t anticipate how our operations will be impacted in the future,” according to Browne.
Visitors to the Midtown location can still order food from the counter and dine inside. Plexiglass sheets have been installed at counters and hand sanitizer is available to guests. The restaurant has also implemented numerous other coronavirus-related safety precautions.
Despite such efforts, a Varsity team member has tested positive for COVID-19. “The test came 72 hours after their last shift. After learning that they tested positive for COVID-19, we initiated our response protocol, which includes conducting a deep cleaning of the restaurant in accordance with public health guidelines. Our store is cleaned and sanitized multiple times every day,” according to Browne.
On Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a mandate requiring people in the city to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result of those orders, Browne said that The Varsity would "strongly recommend that our guests wear a mask."
The Varsity also has locations in Kennesaw, Norcross, Dawsonville, Athens and two at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The airport locations are currently closed. The drive-thrus at the remaining locations remain open but those dining rooms are closed.
Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.