The Varsity temporarily ends dine-in seating as coronavirus spreads

The Varsity, the iconic Atlanta-based restaurant chain that draws tourists and game-day crowds as well as daily patrons, is temporarily closing dining-room seating and inside counter service at most locations, the latest local business to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The more than 90-year-old chain will still offer drive-through service. The Varsity’s flagship North Avenue location in Atlanta will also have carry-out counter service on a limited basis.

The company didn't comment on what impact the change will have on its employment level and pay for workers. Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A earlier announced plans to end dine-in seating service nationwide. And some other states and cities around the U.S. have have required restaurant closings or restricted dine-in options.

Varsity Vice President John Browne issued a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday saying in part: “In the interest of protecting the health and safety of the community, we have decided we will be serving customers in the drive-thru only during business hours at all of our locations outside the Metro Atlanta area. Our Atlanta location, on North Avenue, will be serving customers in the Drive-In as well as through limited, carry-out only counter service. These modifications to operations are subject to change as the situation develops.”

He also wrote: “We continue to follow strict state public health guidelines from the Georgia Department of Public Health at all times, which includes asking sick employees to stay home and putting safety protocols in place to address, and respond to, employee illness.”

The dining room changes affect the North Avenue location in Atlanta as well as ones in Athens, Norcross, Dawsonville, and Kennesaw.