City Winery requiring proof of vaccination or negative test for patrons

A handful of City Winery patrons enjoy a drink at the bar. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)

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A handful of City Winery patrons enjoy a drink at the bar. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)

Another Atlanta business is changing its safety policy in the wake of rising rates of COVID-19 infections and the proliferation of the highly contagious delta variant.

Effective Aug. 2, City Winery at Ponce City Market will require patrons to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entry. The policy will be enforced at all City Winery locations, including Nashville, Boston and Chicago. The New York location has been requiring proof of vaccination in order to enter since reopening in April.

“With the delta variant rise, and seeing how it’s affecting in particular those who are not vaccinated, we just said, let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing in New York and just extend it to all of our locations,” said Michael Dorf, founder and CEO of City Winery, in an interview.

Masks will be required for customers when they’re not seated at their tables, he said.

For customers unable to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, City Winery will provide rapid COVID-19 tests on-site for $15.

The same requirements are in place for City Winery Atlanta employees and musical artists.

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City Winery initially reopened in October 2020 and hosted several shows before temporarily closing again through the end of the year. The venue reopened in May 2021 for dinner service and live music, with a safety protocol that included temperature checks and mask requirements for patrons.

Dorf said he isn’t overly worried about pushback from customers. More than 85% of City Winery Atlanta customers who responded to a poll issued by the business said they had been vaccinated.

He said ultimately, the decision to require proof of vaccination or negative tests boils down to wanting to create a comfortable and safe experience for patrons.

“Our decision to do this has zero to do with politics and 100% to do with safety,” he said. “We want people psychologically to feel really good when they’re in our space.”

City Winery joins two other Atlanta businesses in requiring proof of vaccination for customers. East Atlanta bars Argosy and Mary’s both announced “no vax, no entry” policies in the past two weeks.

Several other Atlanta restaurants have posted on social media requiring customers to respect the city of Atlanta’s recently reissued mask mandate, including Fox Bros. BBQ, Hell Yeah Gluten Free and Poco Loco ATL.

Some local restaurants have closed temporarily in recent weeks due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases amongst staff members, including OK Yaki, Aviva by Kameel and Little Bear.

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