In addition to our normal news coverage, What Now Atlanta is tracking ways Atlanta’s businesses are adapting to the novel coronavirus and the challenges it brings to brick-and-mortars.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday announced an “advisory council,” tasked with devising an opening plan for the City no later than May 15, 2020.
News of the council arrives on the heels of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announcing plans to reopen non-essential businesses as early as Friday that were otherwise mandated to close earlier this month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Advisory Council will be comprised of representatives from Atlanta organizations and businesses and will create a framework to reopen the city of Atlanta for business, tourism, entertainment, congregational worship, large gatherings, and athletic events.
“Reopening the city must be executed in a cautious manner that is best suited for Atlanta,” Bottoms said in a prepared statement Monday.
“The Advisory Council will provide the necessary input and buy-in from Atlanta stakeholders to outline a safe and thoughtful framework to get our economy back on track without endangering public health.”
The Advisory Council will be co-chaired by City of Atlanta COO Joshua Williams; Bondurant, Mixson and Elmore, LLP Partner Robbie Ashe; and immediate past National Council of Negro Women National Chairperson Ingrid Saunders Jones. Ashe coordinated the City’s response to the displacement of individuals and families caused by Hurricane Katrina. Saunders-Jones is a staunch advocate for women and children and formerly served as Senior Vice President, Global Community Relations, and Chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation.
As per Kemp’s order, for which specifics are forthcoming, gyms, bowling alleys, salons, and some other indoor facilities will be able to resume operations as early as Friday, April 24.
Restaurants will be able to reopen dining rooms on Monday, April 27, and theatres that same day can again play flicks.
Bars and nightclubs must remain closed indefinitely.
Bottoms isn’t in alignment with the Governor’s decision to reopen businesses.
“My timeline [for reopening the City] will be based on what the scientific data says,” the Mayor late-Monday said in an ABC interview.
[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]