City Winery taking precautions, but says ‘shows must go on’ amid coronavirus

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Event organizers, venue owners grapple with how to respond to coronavirus outbreak.

City Winery will continue to host shows amid coronavirus concerns, but will transfer tickets or provide credit toward future shows.

As event organizers and venue owners grapple with how to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, City Winery says the events on tap will continue as planned, albeit with some additional precautions.

In an email Monday, founder and CEO Michael Dorf said City Winery feels “a strong responsibility that the shows must go on.”

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However, Dorf noted that the music venue and winery chain, which has an Atlanta location near Ponce City Market, is “taking the quickly spreading COVID-19 virus very seriously.”

“As a business which is all about NOT social distancing, we have implemented every measure and precaution possible to create an environment for our guests that is as safe as possible,” Dorf said in the email addressed to “City Winery Patrons.”

He notes that the venue has increased the frequency of disinfecting surfaces including floors, bathrooms and kitchen areas throughout the day. They are also taking measures like having employees where gloves when serving, having employees open doors for customers when possible and closing monitoring employee’s health. Any staff members who show even the “slightest of symptoms” will be required to stay home.

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In addition to internal precautions, Dorf’s email asks patrons of the winery and music venue to “follow the same vigilance.”

Dorf said the venue will be happy to transfer tickets or provide a full credit toward a future show.

“But in the meantime, we feel the responsibility as part of a society to continue to present culture to meet our human needs; albeit, in the most healthy and sanitary way today,” the email reads.

Elsewhere throughout Atlanta and across the country, the virus has led to a string of cancellations. Last week, Atlanta-based CNN announced it would put a pause on its studio tours because of coronavirus concerns.

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And the popular SXSW festival in Austin won't be held this year because of the virus.

Health officials are encouraging people to avoid large gatherings and consider “social distancing.”

On its website, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists recommendations for  organizers of gatherings and "large community events."

The CDC recommends organizers review their venue’s existing emergency operations, address prevention strategies, communicate about COVID-19 and “determine the need to postpone or cancel your events.”

As of Monday afternoon, there are five confirmed and six suspected cases of coronavirus in Georgia.

Despite rising concerns around the virus, City Winery’s Dorf says he wants City Winery to continue to be a “community gathering spot.”

“City Winery, along with many smaller entertainment venues, plays a very important role in the societal ecosystem by facilitating the experience of happiness and joy in a busy, challenging world,” he said in the email.

Upcoming shows at City Winery include a sold out Macy Gray show this weekend; singer, songwriter Kasim Sulton on March 17 and Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles on March 29.