The Sandy Springs City Council will hold a special-called meeting on March 20 to consider an ordinance that would limit establishments that serve food to takeout and delivery only in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release. The ordinance is expected to call for the closure of retail facilities, including nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters, live performance venues and other establishments where a large number of people can gather for social activities, the release said.

“In speaking with Dr. Carlos del Rio, chair of the Department of Global Health in the division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, and in keeping with recommendations from public health officials, this is a necessary move in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Rusty Paul said in the release.

As of now, the proposed ordinance would not apply to cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities; or grocery stores, pharmacies and gas station markets. The full extent of the ordinance is still under legal review, the release said.

To encourage a shift in dining, Paul has proclaimed March 20 as Takeout and Delivery Night in Sandy Springs, the release said.

“I encourage everyone to call into their favorite restaurant and order to go, whether takeout or delivery,” Paul said in the release. “It is important that we support our local retailers to the extent possible.”

The exact details and the timeline of the closures will be determined at the meeting, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said in an email.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on March 19 ordered closure of bars and clubs that do not serve food; gyms and fitness centers; movie theaters; live performance venues; bowling alleys; arcades; and private social clubs, as well as restricted restaurants and other eating establishments to take-out, delivery or drive-thru service.

The cities of Brookhaven and Dunwoody previously placed similar restrictions on restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments, barring them from dine-in service. Brookhaven also shuttered entertainment venues. 

Sandy Springs has not, despite calls from two residents at a March 17 meeting, due to concern it would kill local businesses.

The meeting will be live-streamed for the public at 1 p.m. at //

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Hannah Greco

Hannah Greco is writer and media communications specialist based in Atlanta.