City leadership in Atlanta is ramping up efforts to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected upwards of 1,000 people statewide in just the past few weeks.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced a 14-day shelter-in-place order late Monday, directing all city residents to stay at home unless leaving to seek essential services/activities or report to work at an essential business or government service.
The executive order went into effect at midnight.
“Given our population density, high rate of asthma, and various underlying health conditions found within our city’s populations, I am issuing a Stay at Home Order for Atlantans,” Bottoms said in a press release.
For now, the order doesn’t include essential businesses (like grocers), parks, the Atlanta Beltline and restaurants serving to-go meals, the mayor said. All other businesses have been ordered to cease non-essential operations at all physical locations within Atlanta city limits.
“Until we flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections, the city must exercise every reasonable power to slow the spread of this virus,” Mayor Bottoms added.
The citywide shelter-in-place order was welcomed by local residents who are equally concerned over the spread of the virus. The disease, COVID-19, can cause severe respiratory illness and is responsible for the deaths of at least 32 Georgians so far, according to recent Georgia Department of Public Health data cited by local station WSB-TV.
“Thank you, from what I’m reading Georgia is behind in enforcing isolation,” a Twitter user wrote in response to the news. “It will take individual towns and cities to just do it.”
“Someone who understands public health over party and politics,” another chimed in, adding, “thank you Mayor!”
One woman said she hoped “all other metropolitan cities will follow suit.”
Others argued the Peach State isn’t doing enough to protect residents, however, calling for more sweeping measures from Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
“The governer needs to make a state wide order,” an online user opined. “It’s just Atlanta, what stops people from driving to Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Vinings, Lake Claire, Decatur. None of are Atlanta. I’m technically Unincorporated Dekalb not in the City of Atlanta but 7 houses away is Atlanta. So?”
Another critic agreed, writing, “It’s not enough if the entire state doesn’t have the same order!”
Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore is also among those pushing for Kemp to implement a statewide shelter in place, telling WSB-TV that now is the time for “more aggressive measures.”
“As contagious as this virus is … we’re [not] going to be able to stem the tide of it without taking more drastic measures,” Moore added.
In a Monday news conference, the governor issued a statewide shelter-in-place order, but only for Georgians considered “medically fragile.” The order also bans large gatherings of 10 or more and directs that all bars and nightclubs be closed until further notice.
“These measures are intended to ensure the health and safety of Georgians across our state, and I ask for everyone’s cooperation over the next two weeks,” Kemp added.
Watch more in the video below.