Atlanta Mayor Says to Roll Back City's Reopening Plans to Phase 1 as Coronavirus Cases Surge
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms clashed with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who said she did not have the authority to deviate from the guidelines he set for the state
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said this week she was ordering city residents to stay at home as she called for the rolling back of the reopening plans to Phase 1 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Bottoms issued the order on Friday "in response to the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in the state of Georgia," according to a press release from her office.
“Based upon the surge of COVID-19 cases and other data trends, pursuant to the recommendations of our Reopening Advisory Committee, Atlanta will return to Phase I of our reopening plan,” said Bottoms said in a statement. “Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences.”
Under Phase 1, residents are asked to stay at home with the exception of essential trips. Restaurants are also asked to limit business to only delivery and to-go orders.
Non-essential city facilities and businesses are to remain closed under Phase 1. There will also be a moratorium on special event applications.
Atlanta eased restrictions for its residents in May when the city entered into the second phase of its five-phased reopening plans, permitting private gatherings of no more than 10 people with social distancing guidelines in place.
While Bottoms is adamant about having residents follow the restrictions outlined in Phase 1, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp hit back in the wake of Friday's announcement and called the order "merely guidance — both non-binding and legally unenforceable."
"As clearly stated in my executive orders, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide," he tweeted. "If the Mayor actually wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing state restrictions, which she has failed to do."
Kemp went on to ask residents to refer to the executive order he signed on June 29, which requires "social distancing, bans gatherings of more than fifty people unless there is six feet between each person, outlines mandatory criteria for businesses, and requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile," according to his office's website.
On Wednesday, Bottoms issued a citywide ordinance requiring residents to wear a mask or face covering over their nose and mouth to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The ordinance came just days after the mayor revealed that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
She confirmed her diagnosis in a tweet on Monday, writing, "COVID-19 has literally hit home. I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive."
She later told MSNBC that she tested negative "about two weeks ago," but decided to get tested again after noticing that her husband was sleeping more than usual. She said they received positive test results on Monday.
"It's a shock because what I see with him is not out of the ordinary for seasonal allergies," Bottoms, who is reportedly on Joe Biden's shortlist of potential vice presidential running mates, said. "It leaves me for a loss of words because I think it speaks to how contagious this virus is, and we've taken all of the precautions that you can possibly take."
"This is startling for me because we've been so very careful," she said of her family. "Again, this is just a lesson to everyone that you have to take every single symptom seriously."
On Friday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 4,484 new coronavirus cases, with 35 deaths and 331 hospitalizations. There have been at least 111,211 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,965 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses in the state as of July 10, the department said in a report.
Within the United States, more than 3,164,700 people have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 133,400 have died, according to a New York Times database.
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