Late Monday night, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered the city’s residents to essentially shelter in place at their homes until Tuesday, April 7, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Bottoms says in a tweet her decision to enact the “stay-at-home” order is based on “density and [the] specific needs and concerns in Atlanta,” a city of nearly 500,000 people.
The order allows the Beltline, city parks, and essential businesses like grocery stores, restaurants serving takeout and delivery, and farmers markets to remain open. However, it is unclear from the order if liquor, wine, and beer stores are included as essential businesses. Outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and running are allowed, as long as people maintain a proper social distance of six feet or more and do not gather in groups of more than ten.
Sun and warm temperatures this past Friday and Saturday had people flocking to the Eastside Beltline and restaurant patios or picnicking in parks around the city, despite warnings from the CDC not to gather in groups.
The order comes after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp stopped short of mandating a statewide shelter in place for residents or limiting the state’s restaurants to takeout and delivery, in a press conference Monday evening. Instead, Kemp instituted a ban on gatherings of ten or more people and ordered “medically fragile” individuals to shelter in place until Monday, April 6. He also mandated the closure of bars and nightclubs across the state.
Bottoms was prepared to order residents of Atlanta to remain home earlier in the day, but was apparently asked to hold off on the decision until after Kemp’s 5 p.m. press conference.
For counties and cities throughout Georgia where restaurants remain open with limited dine-in service, Kemp provided the state’s Department of Public Health with the authority to close any business that did not comply with the new ban on gatherings or for those businesses not adhering to social distancing measures of six feet or more.
Last week began with Atlanta restaurants voluntarily closing dining rooms and pivoting to takeout and delivery in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus. By Thursday, March 19, Bottoms mandated the closure of bars across the city, and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery only. On Friday, she issued an order allowing the city’s restaurants to temporarily offer beer and wine to-go for off-premises consumption for the next 60 days.
Click here to read the full order from Bottoms.
Update, March 24, 8:30 a.m.: This story has been updated with further clarification on the stay-at-home order and its allowances for city of Atlanta residents and businesses.
NOTE: The novel coronavirus situation in Georgia is fluid and ongoing. Follow Eater Atlanta for continuing coverage on COVID-19’s impact on Atlanta’s restaurant industry. Additional stories are forthcoming.
Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for guidance and twice-daily updates on the latest number of reported COVID-19 cases.