The Advisory Council for the Reopening of the City of Atlanta has submitted a 119-page report with final recommendations for a gradual reopening to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
The mayor will review the advisory council’s recommendations and the current state of COVID-19 cases in the city and will provide additional guidance in the coming weeks to ensure a safe and data-driven reopening of the city.
Informed by economic indicators and medical science, the report contains evidence-based short, mid, and long-range recommendations for the safe and data-driven reopening of the city.
The report reflects the insights and guidance of the advisory council, which was established by Bottoms through an administrative order on April 20 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 60-person council is comprised of experts from across Atlanta’s business, nonprofit, healthcare, and government sectors.
The report outlined three core focus areas for Atlanta’s reopening strategy, recommending:

  • The city establish and track clear metrics to signal to residents and businesses when they can more safely reopen, what safety measures they should take, and how their operations or routines may need to be adjusted. Metrics will also enable the city, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health and other agencies, to quickly identify resurgences of COVID-19, and provide an early warning system to the public in the event safety measures and restrictions need to be re-imposed.
  • The city supplement the state’s reopening criteria with additional, voluntary guidelines. The council outlined five sequential phases for reopening, providing specific metrics that should be achieved to advance to each next phase, and voluntary guidance for individuals, businesses/non-profits, and the city for each phase.
  • The city continue to work with public and private partners to address cross-cutting and sector-specific considerations for reopening, many of which cannot be addressed by a single actor or sector alone.

“After extensive research and review of global best practices, we believe the findings and recommendations in this report will help provide the city with safe and practical guidelines to help Atlanta residents and businesses through the COVID-19 crisis,” said Advisory Council Co-chair Ingrid Saunders Jones.
In addition to the insights from members of the advisory council and other leading health experts, the report also drew from the findings of a resident survey asking Atlantans how they were approaching and interacting with various businesses and venues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conducted between April 28 and May 4 with over 15,700 respondents, the survey showed:

  • An overwhelming majority of survey respondents indicated that, at the time of the survey, they felt unwilling to go to most businesses and venue types.
  • Approximately 97% of survey respondents indicated they will not feel safe going out to various venues after reopening without taking their own protective measures, such as wearing a face mask, hand washing, avoiding crowds, and wearing their own personal protective equipment (“PPE”).
  • Respondents overwhelmingly indicated that, if required to wear a mask by a workplace or business establishment, they would be willing to do so.

“The advisory council’s recommendations are based on the current available science on the virus, which we know is rapidly evolving,” said Advisory Council Co-chair Robert Ashe, III. “The council stressed that as the city establishes metrics and guidelines for reopening, the guidance should be reevaluated and amended as the science and facts are updated and made available to the public.”
The advisory council also recognized that there are federal guidelines, as well as state executive orders, that have been issued pertaining to reopening. The advisory council’s voluntary recommendations are put forth as benchmarks for proceeding in a safe and deliberative manner within the context of the state’s reopening orders.
The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Georgia continue to rise. As of the release of the Advisory Council’s report today, the Georgia Department of Public Health has reported 36,544 COVID-19 cases in the state of Georgia and 1,548 deaths. Fulton County is reported to have 3,632 COVID-19 cases and 159 of deaths.
View the entire Advisory Council Report for Reopening Atlanta and the results of the resident survey here.

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.