ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Friday that the city would roll back reopening plans and operations to phase one effective immediately. The city was in phase two of five.
Phase one, like phase two, urges residents to stay home when not completing essential duties. It instructs non-essential city facilities to remain closed and encourages businesses to allow employees to work remotely when possible.
The rollback eliminates the phase two allowance of social gatherings of up to 10 people and curbside pickup from restaurants and retail businesses. To-go and delivery orders are advised.
According to WSB-TV, Georgia set a new single-day record of new coronavirus cases Friday with nearly 5,000 reported cases of the virus.
Georgia is one of many states on lists released by Chicago, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey officials who deem travelers from Georgia as high-risk. People traveling to those locations from the Peach State are asked to quarantine for 14 days.
“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 one of our reopening plan,” Lance Bottoms said. “Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences.”
Georgia was the first state to begin reopening its economy with gyms, hair salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys opening on April 24. Dine-in restaurants and movie theaters were given the go-ahead to resume operations with limits on April 27.
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows increasing numbers of confirmed cases over the last three months with cases trending upward for the current two week period. Confirmed cases must consistently decrease over a 14-day span for Atlanta to graduate into a new phase, according to official guidelines.
Lance Bottoms mandated mask-wearing in public in Atlanta Wednesday. Multiple cities in Georgia, including Athens and Savannah, had already instituted mask mandates. Gov. Brian Kemp has not issued a mandate for the state as a whole.
Kemp called Lance Bottoms’ action “confusing guidance” and said her mandate is not enforceable. He also said that she has failed to enforce state restrictions put in place to protect Georgians from coronavirus amid reopening, WSB-TV reported.
Lance Bottoms tested positive for COVID-19 this week after showing no symptoms. Her husband and one of her four children also tested positive.
She said she has “no idea when and where” they were exposed and asserted that they have been diligently wearing masks and washing their hands.
Lance Bottoms had recently attended a news conference with other community leaders.
In an interview with Gayle King, Lance Bottoms suggested she would not have gone out in public if she had gotten her test results sooner, saying, the “testing system is failing.” It took eight days for her to get results after being tested for the virus.
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