Mayor says stay-at-home order likely to be extended beyond April 6, not ready to close parks and BeltLine

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the stay-at-home order for the City of Atlanta would likely be extended beyond its original April 6 deadline. She made the comment Tuesday morning during a conference call with the Atlanta City Council to provide an update on the city’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

As the number of cases continue to rise across the country, President Trump has already extended social distancing guidelines until the end of April. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia jumped to 3,817 and 108 related deaths in Tuesday’s noon report.

Bottoms said she was still not ready to issue an order to close city parks and the Atlanta BeltLine trails. “I’m relying on our scientists and medical experts to decide when I should issue an order to close the parks and trails and they have not advised closure yet,” the mayor said.

The mayor said she had been updated by BeltLine CEO Clyde Higgs that the number of users were decreasing on the BeltLine, but acknowledged that the message to stay home was “not resonating with some people.”

Councilmember Michael Julian Bond implored Bottoms to close the parks and trails, noting that he had already lost two family members to COVID-19 and was disturbed that many residents were acting like it was “business as usual” and not taking the stay-at-home order and social distancing measures seriously.

In other updates from the conference call:

  • Bottoms said city employees required to report to work will be getting an extra $500 per month, including police, firefighters and employees who perform critical tasks in the watershed department, at the airport, in solid waste, transportation, inspection and parks and recreation.
  • The mayor said 13 city employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Bottoms said Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, had received 200 applications for small business loans and granted five so far.
  • A hotel has been offered to house the homeless population that needs to be quarantined or isolated if they test positive or have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Bottoms said she would look into possible action about preventing private landlords from evicting renters during the crisis, but said she had very little jurisdiction there. She did note that the magistrate court would not be hearing eviction cases at this time.
  • The mayor encouraged residents to use the new ATLSTRONG.org website for updated information and asked people to call 311 if they observed gatherings or parties of large people in violation of the stay-at-home and social distancing orders.
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