An Atlanta City Council member’s report that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Gov. Brian Kemp are working on a coronavirus-related ban on large events in the city is “false,” according to a Governor’s Office spokesperson. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the councilmember says some city legislation short of a ban is still possible.
The mayor’s press secretary has yet to issue a promised comment about the matter.
In Twitter posts on March 12, Atlanta City Councilmember Amir Farokhi said Atlanta needs to ban large public gatherings for at least 30 days. He then added, “Just learned that the mayor is working with the governor on this very issue.”
Asked the source of his information and for further comment, Farokhi said in an email, “I defer to the mayor for further comment on that issue.”
“That’s false,” said Governor’s Office spokesperson Candice Broce in a two-word email when asked about Farokhi’s comments.
A spokesperson for Farokhi later said he did not necessarily mean that Bottoms and Kemp were working on a “hard ban,” which might not even be legally allowed, but rather some more general restrictions. Later that day, Kemp suggested closures of public schools districts, for example.
However, the spokesperson said, council legislation “encouraging the public to act a certain way” is still possible. “We haven’t ruled out the possibility of legislative action [for the next council meeting] Monday based on where we are then,” the spokesperson said.
Update: This story has been updated with further comment from the office of City Councilmember Amir Farokhi.