The news of the pandemic continues to be more alarming each day.  I was able to sit in on a conference call today, March 16, 2020, with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for an update on the situation. Mayor Bottoms asked for patience and understanding as decisions are made hourly in coordination with the Governor, expert Dr. Carlos Del Rios of Emory University Medical School, and other partners.

Here are some notes on this conversation: 

We are encouraging people to maintain social distancing in the short opportunity we have to flatten the curve and to not overwhelm our health systems. 

The Executive Order for the City of Atlanta  to limit gatherings to 250 will be changed to 50 as of today.

The mayor is contemplating closing bars and restaurants or changing to take out only, but there are many factors left to consider before she makes that decision. 

We are working on how to test and isolate those experiencing homelessness, if needed. The numbers are higher than we know, since testing has been limited, and one person in the shelter has already confirmed positive for the virus. 

City of Atlanta employees will be teleworking,, and the City will continue to pay employees including hourly workers. Invest Atlanta will have some loans available for small business

The capacity at Grady Hospital is already significantly limited. The City is exploring partnerships with other facilities like dormitories and apartments as mobile hospital units. Testing sites remain extremely limited. 

We also expect school closures to be extended – more details to come soon.