Mother’s Day draws crowds to metro restaurants amid rollback of COVID rules

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To exploreMother’s Day 2021 in Atlanta: an improvement but still not normal

Signs of a return to normal were also apparent at The Battery Atlanta in Cobb County, where patrons strolled the streets and dined hours before the Braves hosted the Philadelphia Phillies in the evening at Truist Park. On Friday night, for the start of the series, the Braves hosted a full Truist Park for the first time since October 2019.

On Sunday, at The Battery complex outside the baseball stadium, several restaurants catered for dozens of customers, many of whom were enjoying meals outside.

In Midtown, during sunny vacations, 10th Street between I-75 and Monroe Drive was also busy with car and pedestrian traffic. Piedmont Park, Midtown’s iconic destination point, was littered with people lounging on blankets in the sun and under trees. Unsurprisingly, a constant stream of people entering and exiting Beltline’s Eastside Trail on Monroe Drive.

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Vince Palermo, CEO of Canoe, said that from Monday the masks will become voluntary for staff and customers. The restaurant’s indoor and outdoor dining rooms were full of people – some wearing masks – eager to treat their mothers to brunch this year.

Palermo said it was “very gratifying” to be able to serve customers on Mother’s Day since the restaurant was unable to honor the tradition in 2020.

“We are delighted to be here and happy to welcome old friends again,” he said.

Most Mother’s Day patrons made their reservations for 2021 last year when the restaurant was closed for in-person dining due to the pandemic. Palmero said he expects those same customers to make reservations for Mother’s Day 2022.

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Canoe, like other companies, is grappling with a dilemma that arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic: managing operations with a small staff. Typically, Palermo has said they would like to have around 125 people on their staff, but they currently run the restaurant with around 20% fewer employees.

The restaurant is doing what it can to recruit employees, but faces stiff competition from other restaurants in the same position.

“Everyone fishes from the same pond,” he says.

Between posing for photos with her grandchildren and chatting with her adult children, Moon Nguyen, a Chamblee resident and Canoe customer, was all smiles as she and her family members waited for their tables to become available. It was the first time she had eaten at a restaurant.

The Nguyen family poses for photos while waiting for a table at The Canoe restaurant on Sunday, May 9, 2021 (Photo: Steve Schaefer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

“It’s very nice,” she said of the outdoor courts. “I love this place.”

Although she is confident in her daily life, Nguyen said she will continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing and hopes others will do the same.

“You have to be careful,” she said. “You must be safe for yourself and for the community.”



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