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Despite clearance to reopen, many restaurants sticking to take-out, for now

Gov. Kemp said restaurants can reopen dining rooms on Monday

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Monday that restaurants could open for dine-in service on Monday. 11Alive News spoke with eight restaurant owners who all say they are not ready -- so for now, they are sticking with take-out service.

The owners of Fat Matt's Rib Shack in Midtown say they were shocked. Since mid-March they've been a take-out only operation. They say they do not plan on making any changes without more information.

"We need to see numbers, we need to talk to health professionals, people that we know," said Kelly Harper.

"Our safety of our employees, and us and all the people around all the customers is most important," Harper said.

RELATED: Health experts worry COVID-19 cases could still rise, Georgia not prepared to reopen businesses

The owner of Tomo in Buckhead said he's also concerned about safety, and afraid opening too soon would bring another shutdown.

"They're concerned there's gonna be another outbreak and when that happens we have to redo that over again," Tomo said.

Right now he can't even get the supplies he needs for his full menu, because his fish provider in Japan only sends large amounts.

"They do not have enough orders to get those fish into the United States," he said.

RELATED: ER doctor reacts to Georgia Governor reopening the state

So Tomo will also likely not be open on Monday.

In fact, all the restaurant owners we spoke with said the same thing, that it's too soon, with too short of notice to make big changes. 

And for places like Fat Matt's, getting back to normal could take years. They said even if they open up, they still may not fill up.

RELATED: With decision to reopen, Kemp draws all eyes on Georgia

Once they allow dine-in service, Harper says it will be easy to separate tables inside but on the patio, they'll like skip every other booth and only seat on one side. They will also not have live music again until much later.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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