Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens extends COVID-19 mask mandate, emergency orders

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

In his first hours after being sworn in as Atlanta’s 61st mayor, Andre Dickens signed two executive orders to renew the city’s emergency measures in response to the pandemic.

Dickens on Monday extended Atlanta’s mandate requiring people to wear masks in all indoor public spaces, including inside private businesses, according to an order obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The mandate empowers the city to issue $25 fines and $50 fines to anyone who refuses or fails to put on a mask after being given a warning, according to the order to signed by Dickens.

Dickens also called for a temporary moratorium on evictions for residents living in properties funded by the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Beltline Inc., the Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority, Invest Atlanta, Partners for Home, and the city’s Department of Grant and Community Development.

Additionally, City Hall and other city facilities will remain open in a limited manner for some in-person transactions, but this rule won’t apply to the Municipal Court, Lakewood Amphitheater, or Chastain Amphitheater, according to the order.

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

“It is my opinion that there exists an extreme likelihood of destruction of life and property within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta due to the unusual condition of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Dickens’ order.

Dickens also extended the city’s internal incentive program, which gives employees a $100 bonus if they get the coronavirus vaccine and the booster shot by June 30, according to the order.

The executive orders, first established by former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, come as Georgia continues to grapple with the coronavirus and its delta and omicron variants.

COVID cases have complicated Dickens’ desire to fully reopen City Hall on day one. As of late last week, roughly 8% of the city’s workforce either tested positive for COVID-19 or were quarantining due to exposure.

At last year’s AJC forum during the election, Dickens said he wants to obtain a 100% vaccination rate within his first 100 days in office

On Monday, Dickens sought to assure the city that Atlanta will overcome the pandemic.

“We survived the Olympic Park bombing and we will survive the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dickens.