Atlanta mayor issues flurry of orders to help with coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued six executive orders late Monday to help stem the spread of the coronavirus and provide relief to those most severely affected by it.

But she allowed five of them to expire on Tuesday when the Atlanta City Council failed to take them up at its 10 a.m. meeting.

The move appeared to be part of a parliamentary maneuver that will enable Bottoms to keep restrictions to protect public health in place while avoiding a lengthy legislative process.

A spokesman said that Bottoms planned to reissue the executive orders late Tuesday.

Among the orders: limiting public gatherings to no more than 50 people; limiting the occupancy of restaurants and other establishments to no more than 50 people; directing the city’s Office of Special Events and Department Parks and Recreation to stop accepting permits for public events; calling on all city affiliate agencies, such as the Housing Authority and Partners for Home, to cease all eviction proceedings for 60 days; and allocating $7 million in reserve funds to assist with a variety of measures, such as children and senior food programs and the emergency purchasing of technology for city employees to work remotely.

Under the city's charter, executive orders expire if the council does not approve them at its next meeting.

Typically the administration approaches a council member with legislation that ratifies an executive order.

Councilwoman Andrea Boone sponsored legislation allocating the $7 million. It is now subject to a committee hearing and won’t be considered by the full council until its next meeting on April 20.

But no other council member introduced ordinances or resolutions for the other five executive orders.

If they had, the proposal could have been subject to a committee hearing, and meanwhile, the order would not have been in effect.

Bottoms Spokesman Michael Smith confirmed on Tuesday that no one from the administration approached the council about introducing legislation related to the other five executive orders.