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Why a popular local music venue won’t reopen July 1 despite new rules

Eddie's Attic in Decatur is one of several venues where you can have dinner and listen to live music without having to move.
Eddie's Attic in Decatur is one of several venues where you can have dinner and listen to live music without having to move.

At Eddie’s Attic, the intimate acoustic concert venue in downtown Decatur, artists say they are ready to start playing shows again. But talent booker Andrew Hingley’s not sure it’s time yet.

“It’s a real horrible place to be in,” he said, weighing the decision of whether to reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “I just really hope we get back to normal soon.”

Gov. Brian Kemp has given Georgia concert venues the green light to reopen July 1 with new safety precautions. His executive order lays out 30 requirements that venues must meet if they want to hold shows, including social distancing measures, regular sanitation and requiring workers to wear masks when interacting with patrons.

Hingley took at a look at the requirements and said it probably wouldn’t be possible for Eddie’s Attic to open in July. The venue, located on the second floor of a Decatur Square building, is a favorite among local artists and music-lovers alike.

With the new social distancing requirements, the main room at Eddie’s Attic would be able to fit about 60 people if it reopened in July, said Hingley, also a co-owner of the venue. Usually it can fit about 180, turning a profit if 100 to 120 people buy tickets to the show.

On top of that, Hingley wants the energy in the room to be right.

“My biggest fear is putting people in a situation where the vibe doesn’t feel right,” he said, adding that telling concertgoers to space out could mean “people don’t feel connected in a room musically.”

Eddie's Attic is among the Atlanta venues that has been forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: James Zuraw for Eddie's Attic
Eddie's Attic is among the Atlanta venues that has been forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: James Zuraw for Eddie's Attic

Eddie’s Attic also wants time to properly plan and promote any upcoming concerts they plan.

“You feel an obligation to a lot of musicians that are dying to get back on the road and you want to give them a place to play,” he said.

Several large concert venues across metro Atlanta said they were still sifting through the new requirements on Friday, and have not released plans to resume holding shows.

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