For many, summertime in Atlanta is one of the best seasons to experience the city. There’s something for everyone to do, whether you’re looking to shop, dine, or spend time outdoors. With the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of the news and most people’s minds, it’s important to understand how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this summer.
While you may not be able to experience a traditional Atlanta summer this year, there’s still a lot you and your family and friends can take part in. Before heading out, however, you’ll want to understand what the city is doing in response to the coronavirus and what you need to do as a resident or visitor. Then you can start having some summer fun in Atlanta during COVID-19.
Atlanta’s Response to COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta has developed a five-phase reopening plan:
- Phase 1: Stay at Home. Essential business and city service only.
- Phase 2: Easing. Limited industries resume operations with severe restrictions.
- Phase 3: Maintain. Additional industries resume operations with restrictions and capacity limitations.
- Phase 4: Recovery. Additional industries resume operations with guidance.
- Phase 5: “New Normal.” Development of vaccines and/or treatments enable resumption of “new normal.”
As of the publication of this blog, Atlanta is in Phase 2. This means that individuals should only go out for essentials and vulnerable populations should continue to stay home. Face coverings should be worn in public and social distancing guidelines should be followed. In addition to that, to-go and curbside pickups are allowed from restaurants and retail establishments. Telework should continue where feasible, and small, private gatherings of no more than 10 people are allowed with social distancing.
On June 11, however, Governor Kemp signed an executive order that relaxed the restrictions. According to the order, restaurants and dining rooms are allowed to reopen their dining services and bars can now have up to 50 people. People can gather in crowds of up to 50 people with no social distancing recommendations. Conventions of more than 100 people can resume, and live performance venues can reopen if they comply with specific criteria.
What To Know When Out and About
Whether you’re running out for groceries or planning a day in the city, it’s important to understand how to keep yourself and others as safe as possible. To do so, regularly check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for updated guidelines. The guidelines currently include staying home if you’re sick, wearing a cloth face covering when less than six feet apart from other people or indoors, using social distancing, calling businesses to ask about extra prevention strategies, and washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Getting Around and Staying in Atlanta This Summer
If you’re planning on making your way to Atlanta this summer, you’ll want to make sure you have all the updated information you need on the city’s transportation options and accommodations. This way, you’ll be able to safely get to your destinations and enjoy your time in Atlanta.
Getting around the city may look a little different than what you’re used to, but there are still a variety of transportation options available. The city’s public transportation, MARTA, is continuing to thoroughly clean its facilities, rail stations, buses, and trains with a focus on high touch areas like handrails, elevator buttons, and Breeze machines. It’s important to note MARTA has reduced service system-wide to prioritize essential transit. Plan your trip ahead of time online or call 404-848-5000 for schedule information.
Rideshare, taxi, limousine, and bus services are available throughout the city. Individuals companies are taking preventative action to combat the spread of the virus and encouraging passengers to follow CDC guidelines. This includes wearing a cloth face covering, limiting contact, cleaning and disinfecting surroundings, and practicing everyday preventative actions.
As always, you can utilize your own method of transportation to maneuver around the city. If you’re driving or cycling, remember to watch for pedestrians and follow the rules of the road. Pedestrians should focus on social distancing—which means avoiding crowds and giving yourself extra time to get to your destination.
If you’re planning on staying in Atlanta, it’s important to be aware of how you stay in a hotel as it could be different from what you’re used to. In response to the pandemic, the American Hotel & Lodging Association introduced the Stay Safe initiative with enhanced industry-wide cleaning standards. There are guidelines for employee and guest health, employee responsibility cleaning and disinfection products and protocols, and physical distancing.
In addition to that, hotels that have reopened are publishing their own guidelines and information for guests regarding changes to their operations. For example, many locations are utilizing virtual check-ins and keyless door entries. Some amenities, like gym and spa facilities and breakfast bars, will be closed until further notice.
Prior to making a booking with a hotel in Atlanta, call ahead. You’ll want to learn about their COVID-19 policies and what steps they’re taking to keep employees and guests safe.
Experiencing Atlanta During COVID-19
As you can imagine, summer in Atlanta will look a little different this year. While you may not be able to attend many festivals or events in the traditional sense, the city still has a lot to offer these next few months. From virtual festivals to a variety of outdoor dining locations, you and your family can enjoy the city all summer long.
Summer 2020 Festivals in Atlanta
While a number of annual festivals have been canceled this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some event organizers are rethinking how to hold their events. In some cases, events are becoming virtual. In others, crowd limitations and social distancing efforts will be put in place. Let’s take a look at what events you and your family can enjoy this summer.
- Atlanta Ice Cream Festival. This is the 10th annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival. To celebrate, this year’s festival, “10 Days of Summer,” will take place from July 16-25. All events will take place online.
- Bronzelens Film Festival. The Bronzelens Film Festival will also be a virtual event this year. From August 11-16, guests can enjoy the best of the best indie films, virtual networking, post-screening talkbacks, workshops, and the 11th annual Cinema and Social Justice Sunday screenings—all from the comfort of their homes.
- Grant Park Summer Shade Festival. While the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival will not be returning in its traditional format this year, the Grant Park Conservancy plans to provide a celebration without holding a large festival. During the weekend of August 22-23, they will host a variety of ways to support the community with a virtual artist market, food vendors to order from, and streaming content like live music.
- Atlanta Summer Beer Fest. The Atlanta Summer Beer Festival has been moved to Saturday, September 12. The event will feature 150+ beers, 25+ wines and ciders, live music, and an air-conditioned DJ tent. The group is monitoring the state of COVID-19 and will only hold this event if it is safe to do so.
For the most up-to-date information regarding the festivals above, be sure to check out their websites or contact event organizers through social media. The events above are subject to change.
Outdoor Dining Options
To have the safest and most comfortable dining experience this summer, you’ll want to check out the many outdoor dining options Atlanta has to offer. Continue reading to learn about some of our favorites.
- Anis Café & Bistro. This café features a charming patio, French cuisine, and an extensive wine list. Seating capacity is currently reduced, so reservations are encouraged.
- Boxcar. The Hop City sister restaurant has reopened its counter-order services on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Guests will find locally-sourced creative food inspired by the American journey.
- Carroll Street Cafe. Carroll Street Café is open for dine-in services and limited outdoor seating. Patrons are asked to wear masks as much as possible while inside.
- BeetleCat. BeetleCat, which is part of Ford Fry’s restaurant group, is open for dine-in and patio services. This location features a variety of seafood, cold beer, and fresh oysters.
- 8Arm. Located near the Ponce City Market, this bar and restaurant offers coffee and bunch in the first half of the day and dinner and drink options until after midnight. The outdoor kitchen offers take-away and counter service. They are also offering community support agriculture bags with vegetables and eggs from local farmers.
- Bread & Butterfly. Guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this French bistro on their porch area, which opens to Elizabeth Street. Seating is also available in the sunroom.
- Bangkok Station. Enjoy some of Atlanta’s best Thai food on Bangkok Station’s outdoor patio. Curbside pickup and non-contact delivery are available as well.
- Whiskey Bird. Dine-in and takeout services are available at Whiskey Bird. Reservations are recommended and a limited menu is currently being offered. Seating on the patio is available.
- Hot Dog Pete’s. If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor lunch spot, stop by Hot Dog Pete’s. This new location features a wide range of hot dog-customization options.
- Saltyard. Saltyard is now open for dine-in and outdoor dining services. This restaurant emphasizes the social and interactive nature of dining by offering small plates and focusing on the seasonal offers from the land and sea.
- Casi Cielo. Offering Oaxacan-inspired dishes, guests can enjoy unique flavors and dishes on Casi Cielo’s patio. To-go and delivery options are available.
- Seven Lamps. Featuring a large courtyard, Seven Lamps offers seasonal American fare, handmade pastas, and craft cocktails.
- Café Comma. This unique coffee house is located in Vinings and is open for dine-in and takeout. Outdoor seating is available, and the café is offering contactless payments and hand sanitizer.
- Poor Hendrix. Limited seating is available on the patio. Seating is first-come, first-serve and the patio is only open to those 21 and older. It’s important to note that guests are expected to bus their own tables and there is no restroom access. Order and food pickup are still available at the back door.
- South City Kitchen. Offering modern southern cuisine in Buckhead, South City Kitchen is open for dine-in and takeout options. Reservations are recommended and outdoor seating is available.
Remember to call ahead when planning on dining out. Restaurants may have different policies and reservation requirements.
Bey & Associates, LLC Wishes You a Fun, Healthy Summer in Atlanta
At Bey & Associates, LLC, our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping Atlanta’s citizens when they need it most. But we also want to share what our great city has to offer. While summer in Atlanta may look a little different this year, that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside these next few months. Take advantage of the events, dining options, and more, while following state and federal guidelines. Not only will you be able to create memorable experiences, but you’ll stay safe and healthy at the same time.