08/15/2018 -- Alpharetta, Georgia -- The exterior of Rumi's Kitchen which has locations in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

Sandy Springs closes businesses, limits restaurants to takeout 

Sandy Springs restaurants are ordered to close doors to the public and limit business to drive-thru and takeout only. City Council approved the measure Friday to help maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. It goes into effect Saturday.

Council also closed nightclubs, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, and private social clubs that serve food, for the remainder of the city’s 60-day state of emergency. 

Council members approved a delay for businesses paying alcohol excise taxes until May 31 without penalty or interest. 

“We know this is devastating to local businesses,” said Mayor Rusty Paul. “These restaurant [owners] have their life savings tied up in these businesses. We are trying to establish a lifeline to get to people to do take-home [food]. …It’s heartrending for all of us. This is a very difficult decision.”

Takeout service can include unopened bottles of beer and wine. 

On Thursday, the city started a campaign called Take Home Friday, urging residents to support local eateries by using  their takeout service.

It’s possible more closures are still to come. Council members discussed closing salons, stores, parks and playgrounds. 

‘[People were] playing soccer yesterday at Hammond park,” said Councilman Andy Bauman. “I’m happy to see it but it’s dangerous.” 

Park equipment is sanitized and cleaned nightly, said City Manager Andrea Surratt. 

Golf club facilities have been ordered closed, but golf courses are open. 

Bauman expressed frustration that local officials rather than state government must weigh public health information and make crucial decisions. 

“I think it’s unconscionable that our city…is having to make these decisions,” he said. “For years they have been preempting us on fireworks, towers, building codes; and now all of a sudden they are localizing the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. I’m really frustrated. I believe we are going to be back here again to take more measures.” 

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