The closure – which the bar said should last about two weeks – is the latest blow to LGBTQ nightlife from a resurging coronavirus pandemic that is stymying the re-opening plans of businesses across metro Atlanta.
MSR announced the closure with a statement posted to Facebook.
“Two team members tested positive for COVID-19. No other employees are showing symptoms at this time. However for the safety of our employees and customers we have decided to temporarily close to have everyone tested and the building professionally clean,” the bar said.
“We will continue to operate under the guidelines of the CDC and go the extra mile to keep everyone as safe as possible. We look forward to seeing you when all the tests come back negative,” they added.
MSR’s temporary closure comes less than three weeks after owners Jennifer and Jami Maguire (photo) discussed the difficulties of navigating their business through the coronavirus pandemic during an episode of Q Conversations, which is Project Q Atlanta’s weekly live Q&A series.
During the discussion, Jami Maguire praised MSR’s customers for their patience as the bar worked to reopen after being shut down in March.
“They seem to be doing everything right,” she said. “They feel comfortable. The ones that don’t feel comfortable are not coming out. We’re not pushing them to come out. They know that we’re taking this very seriously.”
In March, Jennifer Maguire launched a Facebook page to offer resources for the city’s service and entertainment industry. In late June, a coronavirus scare prompted three other popular LGBTQ spots – Heretic, Blake’s and Joe’s on Juniper – to close.
Heretic closed June 27 after two patrons who attended a dance party on June 20 later tested positive for COVID-19. Blake’s – citing “the interest of health and wellness” – closed that same weekend. Joe’s closed June 29 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Blake’s re-opened on Thursday, while Heretic remains closed. We reached out to a spokesperson for Metrotainment, the parent company of Joe’s, and will update the story if we receive a response. (UPDATE | Joe’s re-opened on July 4 and is back to regular operations, a spokesperson said.)
This weekend is the first in which patrons at bars in the City of Atlanta will be required to wear face coverings. On Wednesday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered masks to be worn by anyone in the city.
Photo by Russ Bowen-Youngblood