Fundraisers look to help out-of-work restaurant staff in East Atlanta Village

Amid coronavirus closures, GoFundMe pages look to raise money for employees currently out of work

Unlike other states, Georgia's Gov. Brian Kemp hasn't yet ordered all restaurants and bars to close their dining rooms in attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

However, a lot of places have already made the decision to temporarily close their doors amid the outbreak.

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Local businesses, like those that line East Atlanta Village's main streets, started to close earlier this week after Atlanta's Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms advised against gatherings of more than 50 people. The closures have put the staffs who keep the venues afloat in a tough bind.

In response, community members have started to organize fundraisers on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to help tide folks over.

In an Instagram post on Monday, The EARL said it would close this week “until further notice.”

“We feel it is our duty to keep our community and staff safe and healthy,” the bar, restaurant and music venue said in the post. “Communication will remain open and we hope to resume what we’re good at in the coming weeks. We look forward to providing food, drinks, and entertainment to Atlanta and the village once again in the future.”

On the same day that The EARL closed its doors, Joshua Feigert and Tyler Kinney started a GoFundMe to "Help out The EARL employees who are out of work."


By Wednesday afternoon, the fundraiser for The EARL employees had pulled in more than $9,200.

The money would be split among more than 20 employees, according to the fundraiser page.

“We have numerous employees that live paycheck to paycheck and in an industry with already slim margins, the effects of shutting down due to Corona virus will be devastating to these employees,” a post on the GoFundMe reads. “If you can give us any assistance we would be extremely grateful in efforts to keep us afloat while we live in uncertainty. Funds will be evenly dispersed to back and front of house in support of lost wages.”

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Up the street from The EARL, the music venue 529 has also closed for now.

"After careful consideration, due to the recent news from the Mayor's office regarding the ongoing health crisis, all shows have been postponed or cancelled through 3/28 when we will reassess the situation. Refunds for cancelled events can be requested directly from Eventbrite," 529 wrote on Instagram.
"This is not a decision we make lightly but we feel it is what we must do at this time. Please take care of one another and stay healthy."

On Wednesday, Rachel Stuart put together a GoFundMe page for 529 employees.

“If you've enjoyed many a summer night on the patio with a Jameson slushy please consider donating,” the fundraiser post reads. “All of us a have a genuine love for our customers and truly enjoy taking care of you. On behalf of the bartenders and sound people who serve you, and the doormen who protect you; on behalf of the bar we've all looked up to, please lend us a hand!”

There is also a GoFundMe page for EAV's Flatiron and Trophy Room staff. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised more than $4,000.

In nearby Little Five Points, there's also an effort to help the staff of Elmyr.