As COVID-19 cases top 26k, mayor plans city’s response to expiration of state’s shelter-in-place order

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is preparing the city’s response if Gov. Brian Kemp lets a statewide shelter-in-place order expire at 11:59 p.m. tonight, April 30.

While the mayor was briefing the Atlanta City Council via conference call just before noon, the Georgia Department of Public Health released new statistics showing that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has ticked up to 26,033 and the death toll stands at 1,107.

The mayor has become a regular presence on local and national newscasts urging people to stay at home and pushing back against Kemp’s decision to allow businesses and restaurants to begin reopening.

Bottoms said she met virtually with her COVID-19 advisory committee this morning to plan “adjustments” to the city’s response to the pandemic. The mayor said she has limited power to countermand Kemp’s orders to start reopening businesses, but said city hall and other city offices would remain closed until further notice.

Bottoms said she shared her concerns with Simon Property Group about their decision to reopen Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square on May 1. “I told them it was too soon, but they are committed to making sure they are doing all they can to keep customer’s safe.”

The mayor said she was encouraged that most of the city’s restaurant dining rooms remain closed, including the majority that sit along the Atlanta BeltLine.

Councilman Michael Julian Bond once again raised concerns about the number of people using the BeltLine trails and gathering in Piedmont Park. “People are not social distancing at all in Piedmont Park and there are crowds on the BeltLine,” Bond said. ” When will it be enough for you take action?”

Bottoms responded that she was balancing the need for people to use the BeltLine for exercise and as a transportation corridor. She said that usage of parks and the BeltLine were being monitored daily and she was following recommendations from the city’s health officials.

Bottoms said a COVID-19 survey sent to city residents to get feedback and input on best practices has seen “a much higher response than anticipated.”  The survey can be answered by calling the city’s information line at (404) 546-0311 or online at the city’s pandemic response website, atlstrong.org.