City of Atlanta moves to second phase of reopening plan as COVID-19 cases trend downward

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced that the City of Atlanta has met the metrics to progress to Phase 2 of a five-phased reopening plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As of May 24, the city sustained the necessary 14-day downward trend in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and percent of positive test cases while maintaining sufficient hospital and critical care bed capacity to progress into Phase 2, the “Easing” phase. This phase does not include reopening the City of Atlanta government facilities.

The five-phased plan, drawn from the recommendations of the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Reopening Atlanta, can be found online here.

“As we continue to monitor the effects of COVID-19, we are now prioritizing a safe transition into Phase 2 of our reopening plan,” Mayor Bottoms said in a media statement. “Data shows that we are in a position to move forward. We encourage Atlantans citywide to continue to follow all precautionary guidelines as community transmission of COVID-19 still poses a threat to our city.”

Starting this Thursday, May 28, the city will begin bi-weekly reporting on progress towards meeting the Phase 2 gate-keeping metrics, and each report will be posted on the ATLstrong.org website.

During Phase 2—the “Easing” phase—the city proposed the following guidelines:

Individuals:

  • Stay home except for essential trips
  • Wear face coverings in public
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Social distancing
  • Small, private gatherings of no more than 10 people, with social distancing

Businesses/Non-Profits:

  • To-go and curbside pickups from restaurants and retail establishments
  • Continue practicing teleworking
  • Frequent cleaning of public and high touch areas

City Government:

  • Non-essential city facilities remain closed
  • Continue moratorium on special event applications
  • Continue communication with local and state authorities to monitor public health metrics

In order to leave Phase 2, two critical gate-keeping measures have been added for contact tracing and testing capacity. The city will continue to Phase 3 after reaching and sustaining Phase 2 metrics. If there is a sustained increase in new COVID cases or hospital or critical care capacity falls below 50 percent, the city will revert back to Phase 1.

For a snapshot of the most recent data and metrics related to the city’s progress and updates on Atlanta’s current reopening phase, visit the COVID-19 Atlanta Reopening Dashboard.

Anticipating the transition to Phase 2, Bottoms issued an administrative order on on May 21 directing the Chief Operating Officer to work with the Atlanta Department of Transportation to develop a plan for Atlanta’s streets. This plan recognizes the role of the city in the economic recovery of local businesses and the ability to use public space to support quality of life during the reopening.

The plan will address how the city will use streets to support reopening through:

  • the evaluation and the development of administrative actions to create “tactical sidewalks” to improve mobility in communities to essential services;
  • the evaluation of potential temporary road or lane closures to create more pedestrian and cyclist space for improved safety and access;
  • the development of a street closure plan to create more public space in support of Atlanta’s communities which are practicing social distancing;
  • the evaluation and development of recommendations concerning the potential creation of a safe community streets permitting process which would support traffic calming in neighborhood streets;
  • the evaluation and development of recommendations concerning the streamlining of the sidewalk dining permitting process, including a review of the permit fees associated therewith and the locations of such permitted activity;
  • the evaluation of the potential re-purposing of certain parking locations to areas where curbside restaurant pick-up could take place; and
  • the development of a process by which the Commissioner of the Atlanta Department of Transportation may execute further administrative changes concerning the City of Atlanta’s operation of its right of way which are necessary to support the recommended guidelines for the reopening of the economy of the City of Atlanta.

The mayor’s order outlines that the plan should be submitted and initial actions within the plan should begin implementation by June 1.

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