Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is urging the public to “continue to patronize Atlanta businesses and tip a little extra” in the wake of the announcement that the NCAA “Final Four” basketball championship in Atlanta will be played without an audience due to coronavirus concerns.

Her comments came shortly before the National Basketball Association announced it is suspending its season indefinitely after a Utah player had a preliminary positive test for the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. The Atlanta Hawks, which play at State Farm Arena and have sports medicine facility in Brookhaven, are an NBA team. Also announced on March 11 was the cancellation of the annual Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Midtown.

The NCAA’s March 11 announcement is likely to have a significant impact on the hotel and other hospitality industries in Buckhead and around the metro area. The Final Four is scheduled for the weekend of April 4. The NBA season suspension could add to those woes.

“While we are disappointed, we respect the decision of the NCAA and agree that public health and safety are our priority,” Bottoms said in a press release. “I encourage Atlantans and visitors to keep in mind the hardships that our service and hospitality industries may face as a result of this decision, and to continue to patronize Atlanta businesses and tip a little extra to ease any burdens this may place on the families of those indu

The NCAA’s move and Bottoms’ comments come amid a growing national trend of canceling major events to avoid the spread of the coronavirus and the potentially fatal COVID-19 disease it causes. While state officials have said the risk to public health in Georgia remains “low,” authorities also advise older people and those with several chronic medical conditions to avoid crowds and, in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in the community, to stay home as much as possible.

The Georgia Department of Public Health announced March 11 that there are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and another 19 “presumptive positive” cases awaiting confirmation.

The confirmed cases by county include: Fulton, 3; Bartow, 3; Floyd, 2; Cobb, 2; Polk, 1; and Lee, 1. The presumptive positive cases by county include: Cobb, 6; DeKalb, 4; Fulton, 3; Gwinnett, 2; Fayette, 1; Cherokee, 1; Charlton, 1; and Lowndes, 1.

For the latest information about the new coronavirus, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at