After weeks of complaints and concerns about the number of people using the Atlanta BeltLine trails during the COVID-19 outbreak, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced new usage guidelines and restrictions during an April 7 conference call with the City Council.

Bottoms said usage of the trails had dropped significantly, but the temporary guidelines would help to ensure more social distancing.

From 6 to 10 a.m., the trails will be limited for use by older adults and those with compromised immune systems who need a place to exercise. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the trails are being designated for those who don’t have access to other trails for exercise or transportation. After 2 p.m., the trails would be limited to work travel and emergency needs only.

There were no details on how the new guidelines would be enforced by police.

Her announcement came two days after BeltLine founder Ryan Gravel urged people to try other trails to reduce crowding.

In other updates, Bottoms said that overall crime had dropped 13 percent in the city during the outbreak, but there has been an uptick in commercial burglaries due to many businesses being closed.

Bottoms said basketball goals and volleyball nets were being removed from city parks to stop gatherings.

Hazard pay for city workers will be extended through June 30 and backdated to March 11.

Rent relief will be offered for seniors, families, and other residents who live in Atlanta Housing-owned or subsidized units and have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes Housing Choice Voucher Program participants. Residents suffering a loss of income due to COVID-19 can certify their current income and upon approval, receive a rent reduction, up to 100% of the contract rent, for two months, covering the months of April and May 2020, with AH making payment directly to the property owner or management company.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.