Atlanta mayor: Panel to plan reopening city

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she’s created an advisory council to create a similar plan for the city. It came the same day Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced details on reopening Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic.

The same day Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced details on reopening Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she's created an advisory council to create a similar plan for the city.

“Reopening the city must be executed in a cautious manner that is best suited for Atlanta,” Bottoms said in a prepared statement. “The advisory council will provide the necessary input and buy-in from Atlanta stakeholders to outline a safe and thoughtful framework to get our economy back on track without endangering public health.”

The council will “advise the mayor on the measures needed and steps to be taken in order to end the Mayor’s Stay at Home Order,” the press release said.

The panel will be co-chaired by city Chief Operating Officer Joshua Williams, private attorney Robbie Ashe, and immediate past National Council of Negro Women National Chairperson Ingrid Saunders Jones.

RELATED COVERAGE: Georgia to allow some shuttered businesses to reopen amid pandemic

Ashe, a partner at the firm Bondurant, Mixson and Elmore, coordinated Atlanta’s response to the displacement of individuals and families in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Saunders-Jones is an advocate for women and children and formerly served as a senior vice president and chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Bottoms said the council will be comprised of representatives from Atlanta organizations and businesses who will create a framework to reopen the city of Atlanta for business, tourism, entertainment, congregational worship, large gatherings and athletic events.

Representatives will include those who work at local hospitals, schools, MARTA, the airport and professional sports teams, including the Hawks and Falcons.

The council will also be tasked with keeping in mind the needs of women, members of the LGBTQ community, young people, seniors and homeless or displaced individuals.

A plan of action must be submitted to Bottoms no later than May 15, the statement said.

At a press conference Monday, Kemp outlined plans to allow some businesses shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic to reopen by the end of the week.

The governor’s order will allow gyms, bowling alleys, salons and some other indoor facilities to resume operations by Friday if they comply with social distancing requirements and meet other safety standards.

Restaurants, which were banned from in-person dining, will be allowed to reopen on April 27 if they meet guidelines his office will release later this week. Theaters will also be covered by those new standards. Bars and nightclubs will stay closed.

Georgia’s shelter in place order remains in effect through April 30, but Kemp urged the “medically fragile” to remain at home through May 13.

In a Monday evening interview with ABC News, Bottoms urged all Atlanta residents to stay home. "We don't know what the governor is looking at but what I do know is that we had nearly 19,000 people who tested positive as of this evening."

— Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this report. 

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