Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Gov. Brian Kemp are working on a possible ban on large public gatherings in Atlanta in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Atlanta City Councilmember Amir Farokhi.

Michael Smith, Bottoms’ press secretary, said a statement in response would come “shortly.” A Governor’s Office spokesperson did not immediately respond to a comment request.

Atlanta City Councilmember Amir Farokhi. (Special)

In Twitter posts on March 12, 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.”

In his Twitter comments, Farokhi, an Old Fourth Ward resident who represents District 2, said, “I’ve been slow to embrace the need for government to enforce social distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Heck, I held a town hall with 60-ish people last night. But we need to move quickly in Atlanta to prohibit large public gatherings for at least 30 days.”

He wrote that he had informally consulted “infectious disease expert(s)” and had been told a ban on public gatherings of 15 or more people might be appropriate, but he was “trying to confirm what number would be best/smartest.”

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.