40 Watt Club and Georgia Theatre plan to return strong after COVID-19 pandemic

The closed 40 Watt Club in downtown Athens, Ga., on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The has been closed since March 13 because of the pandemic. [Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald]

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the marquees of Athens’ two iconic concert establishments debuted uplifting messages for their patrons.

“We love you Athens, be well. See you soon,” read the entrance to the iconic 40 Watt Club. Georgia Theatre’s bright red awning displayed “We love you Athens. Wash your hands. Be back soon.”

Ten months later, the waiting game continues for both venues.

As COVID-19 cases and deaths have hit record highs in Georgia and government regulations limit venue capacity and social distancing, the doors of 40 Watt and Georgia Theatre remain closed with no immediate plan on when they’ll be back open.

But both venues hope to maintain financially and be ready when that time comes.

“If we can open in the fall, we should make it,” said Scott Orvold, president of Zero Mile which owns the Georgia Theatre, in an email to the Athens Banner-Herald. “We will have to assess and lick our wounds once we get to that point, but we are not considering the idea of shutting the business down at this point and we believe Georgia Theatre will continue to provide top notch concerts in Athens, for many more years to come.” 

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