Historic Atlanta district looks to rebound from COVID-19.
Restaurants are beginning to open up once more for dine-in service all throughout Atlanta but certain locations are going a step further to ensure the safety of their patrons and staff alike. Old Fourth Ward (O4W) has had 39 businesses, and counting, signed on to take a pledge to follow and exceed the safety measures mandated by the state during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic..
“The O4W Pledge to Public Health came about as a collaborative effort led by the Old Fourth Ward Business Association (O4WBA) and active restaurant owners in the Old Fourth Ward,” stated Executive Director of the O4WBA, Emma Tinsley. “During these unprecedented times, we have found many small business owners frustrated by the lack of clear guidance and the business association was called to lead on a strategy that would make it easier for businesses to re-open in a way that puts the health and safety of the community first.”
The collaborative effort of the O4WBA led to the creation of a taskforce of business owners to develop sets of measures that exceeded what the State mandated when restaurants had initially reopened. Owners involved in the taskforce include Board President Keaton Hong owner of Kea Beverages, Board Member Johnny Martinez co-owner of Georgia Beer Garden and Joystick Game Bar, O4WBA Founding Member Matt Ruppert of Noni’s Bar & Deli, and Board Member Sarah Kim of Our Bar ATL. The group’s Pledge is comprised of 25 health and safety measures coming from Our Bar ATL’s April Health Promise to the Community, guidance information from the Georgia State Board of Cosmetologists and Barbers, the CDC, and practices from others cities and countries (such as Amsterdam and China) that have had businesses re-opened for some time.
The O4W Pledge to Public Health was made into a three-tier initiative to best serve the diverse businesses in their community. With many of the measures being based on the CDC recommendations, other suggestions arose from owners that believed they were adaptable and best suited for their business. The tiered system allows for businesses to navigate through the different tiers as the city goes through the phases of re-opening.
“The Pledge starts with our City of Atlanta + option which really just covers measures that the majority of the businesses involved in the process were already planning on putting in place, such as providing PPE for all of their employees, requiring cloth masks to be worn when social distancing cannot be achieved, and placing markers on the floor or at eye level to help people remain 6 feet apart,” said Executive Director Tinsley. “Our next tier goes one step further and requires businesses to ventilate or commit to sanitizing their business on a set schedule as well as designating one staff member to follow COVID-19 updates and best practices. Our +++ tier is the most extensive and is well suited to a group of our neighborhood businesses that expressed they were comfortable asking clientele/customers key questions about their risk levels, collecting customer information, and potentially providing cloth masks for their customers when their business is likely to be busier.”
Businesses that have taken the Pledge have welcomed the additional measures to communicate to the public what they are doing to ensure the safety of returning and new customers alike. Once a business has joined they will have signage in their business, a peer forum, and a QR-coded certificate to visibly display in their windows.
“It’s a commitment to the community that we’re trying to take every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Tammy Nhep, Co-Owner of O Mi Ga Vietnamese Kitchen. “It’s being able to serve our community while still being respectful of their health and the health of those they encounter. Pledging shows that the community matters, because it does! We are nothing without the support of our community, neighbors, businesses and customers are all a part of the whole.”
Tammy Nhep and Dara Nhep, Owners of O Mi Ga Vietnamese Kitchen, had recently taken the Pledge for their restaurant. Their business is one of the many that has been impacted by COVID-19 and they have been operating in a takeout and delivery capacity. Once they learned of the O4WBA Pledge being made they understood the importance of making a commitment of following health and safety measures.
Restaurants Participating Include…
Bone Lick Southern Kitchen
BQE Restaurant and Lounge
Clues and Cocktails
Georgia Beer Garden
Harold’s Chicken and Ice Bar
Hell Yeah Gluten Free
Just Add Honey Tea Company
The Municipal Market (Sweet Auburn Curb Market)
The Music Room
Noni’s Bar & Deli
O Mi Ga Vietnamese Kitchen
Our Bar ATL
Refuge Coffe Co.
Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium
St. Germain French Bakery
If you would like more information on the O4WBA Pledge to Public Health or if your business would like to take the pledge visit their website at www.o4wba.com/o4wpledge. You can also stay up to date with new information and ways to support local businesses by following them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.