Mayor announces 5-phase plan to reopen Atlanta amid COVID-19 outbreak

As states begin to roll back shutdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced a five-phase reopening plan for the city Thursday night.

The plan does not feature dates for when certain phases will be triggered. Instead, the city will progress from phase to phase “based on milestone metrics and recent data,” according to a news release from the city.

The announcement comes nearly a month after Bottoms created an advisory council to plan the city's eventual reopening. The council was created the same day that Gov. Brian Kemp announced the state would reopen at the end of April.

As of Thursday night, Atlanta remains in phase one: Stay at home.

Bottoms is continuing to urge residents to stay home except for essential trips, to wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and wear face masks in public. Non-essential city facilities also remain closed during this phase.

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Based on her plan, city data would need to show a consistent decrease in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the percent of positive COVID-19 test results over a 14-day period before phase two is enacted. In addition, hospital and critical care facilities’ capacity must remain above 50%.

A dashboard for these metrics was created by the city, and it can be accessed by clicking here.

Bottoms is optimistic that this phase could be entered next week.

“If new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue along the current downward trend, we could shift from the current stay-at-home phase (one) and into phase two next week,” the release said.

Phase two will continue the social distancing practices of phase one, but it will allow private gatherings of up to 10 people. Retail establishments will also be allowed to offer to-go and curbside pickups.

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The city and City Hall will remain closed during phase two.

To trigger phase three, the previous metrics must continue and there must be the capacity to conduct 90 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 Atlanta residents per month. In addition, there must be 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

Phase three will permit limited trips outside, with the exception of vulnerable populations. Food and retail establishments will be allowed to have limited occupancy inside their businesses, and workers who cannot work from home may return to work.

Small gatherings in public will also be allowed as long as social distancing is being followed.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

The city will remain in phase three until public health and child care representatives advise it is the right move, according to the plan. There were no specific metrics provided for progression.

Phase four will increase the occupancy for retail businesses and in-person dining at restaurants. Non-essential workers will also begin to reenter their public work spaces.

Public gatherings will be permitted on a “medium” scale. The specific number of people that permits was not provided. Some non-essential city facilities and programs will also reopen.

The city will again consult public health and childcare representatives to determine when to progress to the last phase.

Phase five, titled the “new normal,” will allow large gatherings and live events as long as social distancing is being observed. All city facilities will reopen and will be routinely cleaned.

To view the full plan, click here.

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