These Athens Bars Are Requiring Masks and Vaccinations

Credit: Blake Aued

The Athens-Clarke County Commission reinstated the county’s mask ordinance on Aug. 3. It had lapsed in May, when COVID-19 cases were low, but with the Delta variant spreading like a fireball shot in your gut, the mask mandate is back on.

However, it includes an opt-out provision. If businesses choose not to be subject to the mask mandate, they can post a sign on their door saying so. The opt-out is the result of last year’s legal wrangling between Gov. Brian Kemp and local governments, and between ACC and owners of (mostly college-oriented) bars over whether the ordinance was legal (it is).

So, to help our readers make wise decisions about which venues are the safest to patronize, here is a running list of local bars that are obeying the mask mandate—and listening to the CDC’s advice—and which are not.

The Old Pal is going the furthest by requiring not only masks upon entry, but proof of vaccination to order drinks at the bar. “We understand this will be an inconvenience for some, but Delta’s the real deal, and our team feels like this is the right move to keep our guests and staff as safe and comfortable as possible,” according to the bar’s Facebook page.

Following suit were the 40 Watt Club, Hendershot’s and Flicker Theatre & Bar, all of which have announced that, starting Aug. 16, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from the past 48 hours for live performances. Starting Aug. 23, Nowhere Bar will require vaccination or a negative test as well. AEG Presents, parent company of the Georgia Theatre, has implemented a similar policy.

Although the mask mandate is the default for all businesses, the following bars are explicitly requiring patrons to mask up indoors when not eating or drinking: The 40 Watt Club, Flicker Theatre & Bar, the Georgia Theatre, Hi-Lo Lounge, Little Kings Shuffle Club, Jinya Ramen Bar, Buddha Bar, Nowhere Bar, the Manhattan Cafe, the World Famous.

The following are opting out of the mask ordinance: Blind Pig Tavern, Flanagan’s, Centro Bar, Moonshine Bar, On the Rocks, Pauley’s Crepe Bar.

Remember, vaccination is the best protection, and Delta is even more infectious than the original version of COVID-19. Vaccines are safe and effective, and even if you’ve had COVID, you should get it. It’s also free for everyone and available from just about any clinic, primary care physician or pharmacy.

This list will be updated as needed. Please contact us with any suggested additions or changes.