A timeline: 10 day period when COVID-19 really changed life in Georgia

A look at some of the big moments that happened one after another to start the lockdown

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On March 2, 2020 Gov. Brian Kemp announced the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia. In a late night press conference, the governor and health officials said two people in the same household in Fulton County had tested positive for the virus, which was beginning to spread across the world.

However, despite the virus officially being in Georgia, life continued to hum along for most residents. Commuters still sat in traffic on their way to office buildings, school buses were still picking up kids in the mornings, restaurants were still filled with people dining out and gyms continued to hold classes.

It wasn’t until the following week that life really started to change for a large swath of Georgia’s population. Suddenly, classrooms across the state are empty, workers are telecommuting — if they are lucky — and social distancing has gone from a social media punch line to a way of life.

Since it all seems to have happened in a flash, here's a look at the 10-day period when coronavirus really changed life here in Georgia. In just a matter of days, the NCAA Final Four, which was to be held in Atlanta, went from possibly a fan-free event to canceled all together, lawmakers paused until further notice and restaurants began to shutter.

Here are some of the big moments that made this pandemic a harsh reality.


Interactive: A timeline of how the COVID-19 crisis began

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News timeline: The 10 days when coronavirus changed life in Georgia

Since it all happened in a flash, here’s a look at some of the big moments as the COVID lockdown began in 2020.

March 9, 2020: Confirmed and presumptive cases of virus in Georgia increase to 17. Fulton County announces schools and offices would close the next day.

March 10, 2020: Georgia races to respond to coronavirus as number of possible cases rise to 22, including the first case reported in South Georgia.

March 11, 2020: The World Health Organization declares coronavirus is now a global pandemic.

March 11, 2020: NBA suspends season as player tests positive for coronavirus. Savannah cancels St. Patrick’s Day festival and parade.

March 11, 2020: After President Donald Trump announces restrictions on travel to Europe, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines prepares for a big hit to business.

March 12, 2020: News breaks on several fronts. As Georgia reports the state’s first death from COVID-19, the Georgia Legislature suspended its session. Additional metro Atlanta schools suspend in-person classes. And the NCAA canceled the Atlanta Final Four basketball tournament. Gov. Brian Kemp ordered most state employees to work from home.

March 13, 2020: Gov. Brian Kemp announces he will declare a public health emergency and call for a special legislative session to marshal the state’s response. In Augusta, the Master’s golf tournament was postponed.

March 16, 2020: Gov. Brian Kemp orders Public K-12 schools and colleges through the end of March. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issues executive order limiting gatherings to 50 people. Major League Baseball delayed the start of its season.

March 17, 2020: TSA closes some checkpoints at Hartsfield Jackson after a screener tested positive for coronavirus.

March 19, 2020: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms orders the closing of all in-person dining in restaurants.

The content on the timeline was compiled from AJC staff reports.