Dining inside restaurants in Canton and Woodstock has been suspended temporarily through executive orders from the cities’ mayors.
“In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Cities of Canton and Woodstock representing over 60,000 residents in Cherokee County have jointly issued executive orders placing a ban on dining inside restaurant facilities effective at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25 through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 12,” city officials said in a joint statement Tuesday morning.
The rest of the statement follows:
“During the time of this ban, City officials encourage restaurants to utilize alternative options for food sales including, take-out, curbside to-go, and delivery practices. Additionally, each restaurant currently operating under a consumption on premises or pouring permit for beer and wine may sell packaged (un-opened) beer and wine with food services outlined above.
“Canton and Woodstock believe that the limit of in-facility dining, which goes beyond the measures ordered by Governor Brian Kemp, are best practices to curb the spread of germs while also taking into consideration the health and well-being of patrons and restaurant employees.
“We had hoped that this would be a countywide effort,” stated Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques. “Unfortunately we could not achieve a consensus among other Cherokee cities and the County.
“This ban on dining does not impact personal care facilities, group homes, assisted living facilities, or healthcare cafeterias.”
“These are unprecedented times, and we need to be mindful of the health of our restaurant employees and patrons,” said Canton Mayor Bill Grant. “We encourage citizens to support our wonderful restaurants through their alternative options for takeout and delivery, and we urge our citizens to continue to take measures to flatten the curve on this pandemic.”
“We will be enforcing the governor’s executive order for all private business. No more than 10 people and no one within six feet of each other. If you violate this, the health department will shut your whole business down,” Holly Springs Mayor Steven Miller said Tuesday. “Most of our restaurants have closed their dining rooms already. We only had a few that are open. All bars have been mandated to close their dining room. Woodstock and Canton have a much larger restaurant/nightlife community. They felt it was in their best interest to shut them all down.”
Ball Ground Mayor Rick Roberts said many of Ball Ground’s restaurants had already been taking proactive steps and doing their part to help halt the spread of the virus in recent days. For example, he said the Ball Ground Burger Bus closed its dining room on Saturday, and the dining room at Les Bon Temps was closed as well.
Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Harry Johnston said he and others recently sought clarification from Candace Broce, Gov. Brian Kemp’s Deputy Chief of Staff, who was responsible for drafting Kemp’s remarks on precautionary measures for restaurants and bars.
“She told us that the Georgia Department of Public Health will be issuing regulations about how the prohibition against gathering applies to restaurant service,” Johnston said. “Until then, she advised that it should be interpreted to mean that if more than 10 people are in the restaurant, no two or more can be seated together. Everyone, standing or seated, must remain at least 6 feet apart.”
Many restaurants across Cherokee County have closed temporarily, reduced seating to promote social distancing or begun curbside pickup and delivery.