Atlanta Councilman: Mayor and governor working on ban on gatherings

An Atlanta City Councilman said on twitter Thursday morning that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is working with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on a potential ban on large public gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“We need to move quickly in Atlanta to prohibit large public gatherings for at least 30 days,” tweeted Councilman Amir Farokhi on Thursday morning.

A few minutes later, Farokhi tweeted: “Update: Just learned that the Mayor is working with the Governor on this very issue.”

Bottoms’ press office did not respond to a text message seeking confirmation about discussions between the mayor and governor about a possible ban.

Late Thursday afternoon, Candice Broce, Kemp’s communications director, said that the governor and mayor have not discussed banning large public gatherings.

In a citywide email shortly before 1 p.m., non-essential employees were given the option of taking leave for the remainder of the day Thursday.

The email did not explain which employees were considered non-essential.

It said on Friday the city would conduct a test of its “continuity of operations with a telework exercise.”

“Details for this exercise are forthcoming,” the email said.

All employees were ordered to take their city-issued laptops, cell phones and charges with them before they left for the day.