Ringing in 2021 with coronavirus-minded measures

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test produced in the previous 48 hours will be required to enter Select Restaurant and Bar at City Springs on New Year’s Eve, owner Dave Green said. Courtesy Debbie Rosen
Proof of a negative COVID-19 test produced in the previous 48 hours will be required to enter Select Restaurant and Bar at City Springs on New Year’s Eve, owner Dave Green said. Courtesy Debbie Rosen

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges people to ring in 2021 at home due to ongoing coronavirus concerns, some spots that do plan New Year’s Eve festivities are implementing measures aimed at health and safety.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test produced in the previous 48 hours will be required to enter The Select Restaurant and Bar at City Springs on New Year’s Eve, owner Dave Green said.

The restaurant will provide rapid testing for New Year’s Eve guests who don’t arrive with proof of a negative test. Rapid testing for COVID-19 will be available outside the establishment on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We’re doing everything that we know how and still providing some sense of comfort,” Green said.

The Select is offering a four-course dinner for $79 and $89 depending on the time of the reservation. Dining room tables are spaced more than six feet apart at the restaurant with Plexiglas between them. Additional patio seating includes heaters and new blankets that can be purchased for $3 to $5, spokesperson Debbie Rosen said.

Jazz trumpeter Joe Gransden will perform with a six-piece band and vocalist Robin Latimore. Gransden said musicians join the greater public in wanting the COVID-19 to end.

“It’s been a complete drag,” he said, referring to how the pandemic has affected his livelihood.

The Select’s regular safety measures include a daily check of staff members before they come to work, Green said. Employees answer questions on an app, Green said, on health, exposure to COVID-19 and possible symptoms. The app is linked to a telemedicine company and if there is a possibility of exposure, the employee doesn’t come into work, he said.

Although rapid or antigen tests can detect a current infection of COVID-19, they are less reliable than Polymerase chain reaction tests which usually take a few days to produce results, according to the Georgia Department of Health. Someone in the early stages of COVID-19 could produce a false negative rapid test, and congregating puts people at risk of spreading or becoming exposed to coronavirus, health officials warn.

Michael Dorf, owner of City Winery, applauds The Select for offering free rapid testing. Dorf announced last week that City Winery at Ponce City Market would be closed until at least February. He offered free rapid testing for COVID-19 to dine-in patrons at his New York City location before the state stopped allowing the public inside all restaurants due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I think rapid testing is really important. It’s great that any place does it as much as they can,” Dorf said. “The key is you want to be diligent because you are creating a true bubble.”

Trumpeter Joe Gransden performs with vocalist Robin Latimore at The Select on New Year's Eve. PHOTO / JASON GETZ
Trumpeter Joe Gransden performs with vocalist Robin Latimore at The Select on New Year's Eve. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Dorf has continued to offer free testing for COVID-19 to his New York customers who purchase a case of wine through curbside service. Free rapid testing wasn’t an option at the Atlanta City Winery because he didn’t have a local laboratory connection that was similar to what he has in New York City, he said.

Coronavirus has forced changes to other local spots’ New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Johnny’s Hideaway in Buckhead has limited reservations to 200 people at a cost of $200 per table, manager JiJi Megelea said, adding that no walk-ins will be allowed.

A New Year’s Eve party at the Westin Peachtree Plaza that usually draws thousands was canceled this year due to the pandemic.

“We didn’t feel comfortable doing a party of that scale, especially during the times we are living in,” Resident Manager Carlos Rodriguez said. “Hopefully everything will go back to normal in 2021.”

Green said that while the pandemic has highly essential workers such as cashiers, first responders and medical personnel, he sees the hospitality industry as important for people’s state of mind.

“The number of people who come in and thank us for being open has been overwhelming,” Green said of The Select’s normal operations. “We feel in hospitality that we’re on the psychological front lines.”

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