Coronavirus Update – March 29: Cases top 2,600; disaster declaration; ‘casual use’ of BeltLine discouraged

The Georgia Department of Public Health says there are now 2,683 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) with 83 deaths in the state. While those numbers were being announced, President Trump extended social distancing guidelines for another month until April 30.

The White House has approved Georgia’s disaster declaration to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the White House said federal funds are available to the state as well as eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures. Kemp said in a statement that the declaration will enable the state to continue partnering with federal agencies in a coordinated fight against this pandemic.

Atlanta BeltLine CEO Clyde Higgs told Curbed Atlanta that he is discouraging “casual use” of the BeltLine trails. “This is a place for people that need to get to a medical facility, for supplies or services, for groceries, to get to a job. So we consider that as essential use. That’s our mindset. At the same time, we’re really pushing the tenets of social and physical distancing. We’re really trying to push that message out.” With warmer weather and sunny says, the BeltLine has been packed with people not observing the “social distancing” recommendation to stop the spread of COVID-19. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms did not ban people from public parks or the BeltLine in her recent stay-at-home order.

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