Atlanta mayor closes bars, clubs, gyms due to coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered all bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters, live performance venues and arcades to close Thursday due to the coronavirus causing “an extreme likelihood of destruction of life.”

The executive order from Bottoms also restricted restaurants to offering food by delivery, drive-through or takeout only. The order goes into effect at midnight on Thursday.

“The fate of cities across the globe will be upon soon if we do not follow recommendations to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Bottoms wrote on Twitter.

Several Atlanta LGBTQ bars closed before the order from Bottoms. The order allows bars that serve food — such as Woofs, Ten Atlanta and Midtown Moon — to remain open for delivery, drive-through or takeout only. The owners of those three bars did not respond or declined to answer Project Q Atlanta’s questions about whether they will remain open.

Several LGBTQ bar and nightclub owners welcomed Bottoms’ executive order. 

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Swinging Richards Owner CB Jones. “I think we have to mount a challenge initially to where an ounce of prevention is going to be three pounds of cure as far as I’m concerned. We will reopen when it’s safe to the public.”

Jones said the club closed before Bottoms issued the executive order.

The closing of the bars and other venues “needed to happen sooner rather than later,” Bulldogs Owner Brent Cochran-Maddox said. The bar on Peachtree Street closed on Sunday. 

“It would be better to completely disrupt the world for two or three weeks versus waiting too long to close things down and it taking two to three months instead,” he said.

Both Cochran-Maddox at Bulldogs and Jones at Swinging Richards boarded windows at the businesses to deter looters.

The Atlanta Eagle remained open this week, but less than 10 customers came in per night, according to Owner Richard Ramey. They will now close until further notice due to Bottoms' executive order.

“I think it’s absolutely necessary,” he said. “I thought we would close by the weekend anyway. I was sure of it.”

Several LGBTQ businesses, sports leagues, non-profits and theater companies have closed or canceled events in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

The following LGBTQ Atlanta bars and nightclubs have closed or will close by midnight Thursday: 

Amsterdam: closed at least through March 30

Atlanta Eagle: closed indefinitely

Blake’s on the Park: closed at least through March 31

Bulldogs: closed indefinitely

Friends on Ponce: closed at least through March 31

Heretic: closed at least through March 31

Mary’s: closed indefinitely

Model T: closing indefinitely March 20

My Sister’s Room: closed at least through March 31

Oscars: closed indefinitely

Sequel: closed indefinitely

Swinging Richards: closed indefinitely

Ten Atlanta: will be closed March 21-22

Tripps: closed indefinitely

UPDATE | Woofs Owner Gregory Hughes said the gay sports bar will close at midnight Thursday night then reopen for takeout food service only on March 23.