Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced that the city has met the metrics to progress to Phase 2 of a five-phased reopening plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
As of May 24, the city sustained the necessary 14-day downward trend in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and percentage of positive test cases while maintaining sufficient hospital and critical care bed capacity to progress into Phase 2, the “easing” phase. That phase does not include reopening city government facilities.
The five-phased plan, drawn from the recommendations of the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Reopening Atlanta, can be found online here.
“As we continue to monitor the effects of COVID-19, we are now prioritizing a safe transition into Phase 2 of our reopening plan,” Bottoms said in pres release. “Data shows that we are in a position to move forward. We encourage Atlantans citywide to continue to follow all precautionary guidelines as community transmission of COVID-19 still poses a threat to our city.”
Starting Thursday, May 28, the city will begin biweekly reporting on progress towards meeting the Phase 2 gate-keeping metrics, and each report will be posted on the ATLstrong.org website.
During Phase 2, the city proposed the following guidelines:
- Stay home except for essential trips
- Wear face coverings in public
- Frequent hand-washing
- Social distancing
- Small, private gatherings of no more than 10 people, with social distancing
Businesses and nonprofits
- To-go and curbside pickups from restaurants and retail establishments
- Continue practicing teleworking
- Frequent cleaning of public and high touch areas
- Non-essential city facilities remain closed
- Continue moratorium on special event applications
- Continue communication with local and state authorities to monitor public health metrics
To leave Phase 2, two critical gate-keeping measures have been added for contact tracing and testing capacity. The city will continue to Phase 3 after reaching and sustaining Phase 2 metrics. If there is a sustained increase in new COVID cases or hospital or critical care capacity falls below 50%, the city will revert back to Phase 1.
For a snapshot of the most recent data and metrics related to the city’s progress and updates on Atlanta’s current reopening phase, visit the COVID-19 Atlanta Reopening Dashboard.
Anticipating the transition to Phase 2, Bottoms issued an administrative order on May 21 directing the chief operating officer to work with the Atlanta Department of Transportation to develop a plan for Atlanta’s streets. The order calls for the plan to be submitted, and its initial actions ready for implementation, by June 1.
The plan will evaluate or develop actions to support the following concepts, according to the press release:
- Creating “tactical sidewalks” to improve mobility in communities to essential services;
- Temporary road or lane closures to create more pedestrian and cyclist space for improved safety and access;
- A street closure plan to create more public space for social distancing;
- Potential creation of a safe community streets permitting process, which would support traffic calming in neighborhood streets;
- Recommendations for streamlining of the sidewalk dining permitting process, including a review of permit fees and locations;
- Repurposing parking areas for curbside restaurant pickup;
- A process for allowing the DOT commissioner to make further administrative changes to support the reopening.