ATLANTA - Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered all but essential businesses closed late Friday as coronavirus cases in the city and across Georgia hit record levels.

Bottoms placed Atlanta back under Phase 1 stay-at-home guidelines just two days after imposing a mask-wearing mandate requiring people in the city to wear masks in all public places.

“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,” Bottoms said in a news release. “Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences.”

Under Phase 1, which was in effect in Atlanta this spring until early May, residents are to make only essential trips such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy. Businesses such as restaurants and retail establishments are only allowed to provide curbside services.

Gov. Brian Kemp, who has not issued a mask-wearing order statewide, criticized the mayor on Wednesday for imposing restrictions beyond what the state is requiring and did so again following Friday’s order.

"Mayor Bottoms' action today is merely guidance - both non-binding and legally unenforceable,” Kemp said in a prepared statement. “As clearly stated in the governor's executive order, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide.”

Bottoms took action on the same day Georgia added more than 4,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a daily record. More than 111,000 Georgians have contracted the virus since the global pandemic began hitting the U.S. back in March.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, Fulton County had 10,021 confirmed coronavirus cases overall. The county had suffered 321 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began along with 1,230 hospitalizations.

Despite the governor’s warnings that local mask-wearing requirements can’t be enforced, a growing number of Georgia cities have imposed them. The city of Augusta imposed a masking mandate on Friday, joining Atlanta, Savannah and East Point.

Also on Friday, Kemp announced plans to reopen the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta for standby hospital beds and medical equipment to help handle the recent influx of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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(5) comments

Hamguy

Mayor Lance Bottoms:

“Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences.”

Governor Kemp:

“As clearly stated in the governor's executive order, "Mayor Bottoms' action today is merely guidance - both non-binding and legally unenforceable. As clearly stated in the governor's executive order, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide."

"...no local action can be more" restrictive... Right after Kemp's way to early reopening with the rise in infections that is a direct consequence of that impatient reopening.

Nothing like erring on the side of caution, eh?

Somehow, I trust her judgement more than his.

Folks, a result in death is only a small percentage of a COVID-19 infections. What is not heavily publicized is that a larger percentage of infections result in long term or permanent internal organ damage, even brain damage, has been reported by credible authorities.

Tyman

Really? You mean, nothing like erring on the side of caution to make yourself look better and tough on a GOP governor as a possible VP choice for Biden, eh?

Where was Lance-Bottoms' caution with all of the protesters?

So NOW MARTA riders have to wear masks? Where was the caution 5 months ago? Seriously, who didn't see this coming?

getoverit

She is scared, scared that she will be held accountable for all the violent protesters, looters, racist thugs that she PERSONALLY let run loose in her city. Can't for police to clean the streets.....nooooooo that would not look good, instead I will call for a stay at home shelter to get everyone off the streets instead of growing some balls and taking charge of her city. Governor Kemp has done a WONDERFUL job taking care of this state. We have got to try to get back some sort of normalcy before we lose all freedoms. But, I forgot, we are all supposed to hide and obey until the elections are over........

Retirement2019

Stay at home order, until it's time for protests, rioting, looting and violent crime. Well done madam mayor. You're representing the Democrat party well.

Tyman

Man, Mayor Lance-Bottoms really believes she has a chance to be Biden's VP choice, so she's trying to show how tough she is.

How hard did she push for the protesters to wear masks and be "socially distant"?

Anyone with an ounce of sense could see all this coming with the protests and people staying inside with AC.

Most of the people I see without masks are higher risk...whole families going into the grocery store...just not using good sense.

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