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.
Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp this week launched the Georgia Safety Promise, a campaign seeking “pledges” from the state’s businesses and citizens to agree to “simple—yet critical—measures that help protect Georgians from COVID-19, minimize the spread of the virus, and keep Georgia open for business.”
Among those measures is “wearing face coverings,” something Kemp’s office has been touring the state recommending, but not mandating. At the recommendation of the C.D.C., several states including California and New York, require its citizens to wear masks in public spaces.
“I realize that many on this call have different opinions on the appropriate response to this pandemic, and that’s fine,” Kemp said in a conference call Tuesday with local Georgia officials including in Savannah where the Mayor is mandating face coverings. “But we all agree that masks are good and can help stop the spread. We all know that social distancing makes it hard for the virus to travel. We agree that handwashing can limit exposure. So instead of mandates, I’m asking you to join me in raising awareness.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who said she recently contracted the novel coronavirus, Wednesday told MSNBC she is going to issue to Executive Order today requiring the City’s residents to wear masks.
“I specifically asked our governor about allowing Atlanta to go forward with mandating masks in our city, he refused,” Bottoms told MSNBC. “Other cities have taken the approach that they are going to defy the governor’s executive order and Savannah has done it, some other cities have done it and Atlanta is going to do it today.”
Businesses that commit to the Georgia Safety Promise voluntarily agree to follow the latest guidelines from the Governor’s Office and the Georgia Department of Public Health including promoting social distancing, wearing face coverings, cleaning surfaces, and washing and sanitizing hands.
As part of the program, participating businesses will be sent a “digital toolkit” with graphics and signage to be shared across social media channels and displayed at storefronts to “encourage” patrons to follow the safety recommendations.
“All Georgians can personally commit to the Georgia Safety Promise by following basic safety guidelines when in public spaces, including practicing social distance, wearing a face covering, washing and sanitizing hands, and supporting businesses that have committed to the Georgia Safety Promise.”
[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.]