Early voting locations open, libraries closed, Publix limiting hours as coronavirus crisis deepens

Empty shelves on Friday at the Publix on Ponce in Poncey-Highland.

If you want to vote early ahead of the presidential primary, polling places are open today, March 14, as scheduled in Fulton and DeKalb counties despite Gov. Brian Kemp’s public health emergency declaration as the coronavirus crisis deepens.

But while polling places are open, libraries, senior centers and county art centers across Fulton and DeKalb have closed indefinitely. Court services have been suspended or severely curtailed and visitation has been suspended at the Fulton County Jail. The rule of thumb is to call ahead or check online to see if the government office you have business with is open.

Most public meetings have been cancelled or postponed, but the Atlanta City Council will hold its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 17, via a phone bridge. The public can access the live meeting using the conference bridge by dialing (877) 579-6743 and entering ID number 8315991256. The public can email epc@atlantaga.gov to leave a message to be read for public comment during Tuesday’s meeting. Messages will be received for public comment up until 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

As we reported Friday, most arts and culture-related events and productions have been cancelled or postponed, but local businesses have also started to limit hours including Publix supermarkets, which are now closing at 8 p.m. In a statement, Publix said early closure allows staff to clean and restock shelves.

On the flip-side, Kroger supermarkets are hiring extra workers to keep store shelves stocked after two days of panic buying. Apple announced it was temporarily closing all of its stores. Again, before you head out to shop, call ahead or check online.

MARTA is continuing its transit services as normal for now amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the agency is encouraging teleworking.

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