A look at major coronavirus developments over the past week

Expect a beautiful afternoon for the big show Saturday afternoon.

Hoping to revitalize a reeling economy, Gov. Brian Kemp lifted a shelter-in-place order for most Georgians on Friday.

Kemp was one of the last governors to impose a lockdown as the outbreak worsened, but now leads the way for restarting the nation’s business activity, even as the human toll from the virus continues to rise.

Here is a look at major developments related to the coronavirus during the past week.

Jonathon Turner makes a pizza at Don’s Pizza on Central Avenue Wednesday, April 29 in Middletown. Don’s Pizza is open for carryout and delivery while the dining room is closed due to coronavirus pandemic. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Kemp continues to roll back restrictions

Though he urged Georgians to stay at home when possible to contain the virus, Kemp lifted a statewide shelter-in-place order for most of the state’s 10.6 million residents.

The elderly and “medically fragile” residents are required to shelter in place until June 12, and businesses must follow existing restrictions through May 13 in order to remain open.

Kemp told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution his aim is to help revive Georgia’s tattered economy, emphasizing that an increase in testing and greater hospital capacity factored into his decision.

The governor disregarded the objections of many public health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pushing back, Kemp said Georgians “can have confidence, even if they disagree” with him, that he relied on advice from state health experts to arrive at his decision.

He also stressed that he renewed requirements that nursing homes and longterm care facilities take aggressive steps to curb the spread of the virus until June 12.

And Kemp urged Georgians to wear a mask in public places, but said they can be more flexible when in parks, beaches and other places where there’s room to spread out.

Gov. Brian Kemp passes the Right Rev. Robert Wright, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, during a prayer service called by Kemp on Monday at the State Capitol.Ben@BenGray.com for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Jobless workers anxiously await payments

The flood of jobless claims has continued, and many thousands of workers still are waiting to receive unemployment benefits.

The Georgia Department of Labor said 266,565 claims were processed for the week ending April 25.

Since mid-March, nearly 1.4 million claims have been processed in the state – 28% of the workers in Georgia.

“We have issued more payments in the past six weeks than in the past four years combined,” said Mark Butler, the state’s labor commissioner.

The largest number of jobless claims have come from workers in hospitality and restaurants, Butler said. Roughly 80% of the state’s 504,000 workers in leisure and hospitality have filed jobless claims.

For many people, the money is still somewhere in the pipeline. Tens of thousands of people have waited for weeks for their applications to be handled and benefits payments to start.

Passengers who need assistance wear masks as they return from Amsterdam in the International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.(Curtis Compton/Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

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Airline travel plummets, passengers must wear masks

Passenger counts are down 95% and multiple concourses are closed at Hartsfield-Jackson International.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and other carriers have seen revenue plummet and are posting hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. They have received billions in federal stimulus funding from the CARES Act.

Hartsfield-Jackson general manager John Selden said Concourses B and E are closed, along with most of Concourse C and half of Concourse T. About 300 of the airport’s 340 concessions are closed.

Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways are seeking federal approval to halt service to some airports in Georgia and other cities around the country.

Delta will also start requiring passengers to wear masks starting Monday as carriers expand safety measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More: Delta requiring masks for passengers

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Steven Satterfield of Miller Union/ Photo credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Credit: Yvonne Zusel

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Credit: Yvonne Zusel

Free shoes and meals for front-line workers

The North Georgia Running Company in Cumming announced it was giving “gently used Hokas to any essential workers in our community while supplies last.”

On a first-come, first-serve basis, the store had about 70 pairs of shoes to give away. The shoes usually sell for $140.

The Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks also have stepped up to provide meals to front line workers and others in the community.

The Braves Home Plate project, in partnership with Braves concessionaire Delaware North, is preparing food for several thousand community meals, working with organizations including the YMCA and Meals on Wheels. The Braves is also teaming up with local restaurants to serve at least 2,500 meals to medical and support staff.

The Atlanta Hawks, partnering with State Farm Arena, have been sponsoring Miller Union and Forza Storico over the past month to prepare 4,000 meals a week for approximately 1,000 health care workers who are taking care of COVID-19 patients at six Emory hospital facilities in metro Atlanta. On Friday, Emory said the meal program has been extended through May 16, thanks to additional funding from the Hawks.

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In a first, AJC Peachtree being delayed

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race, which has been run down Peachtree Street on every Fourth of July since its inception in 1970, has been pushed back to Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26.

Staging the race almost five months later, Atlanta Track Club executive director Rich Kenah said, “allows for testing to be significantly ramped up, contact tracing to happen, and it allows us to be better prepared for bringing people together in larger groups.”

Staff writers Kelly Yamanouchi, Greg Bluestein, Michael E. Kanell, Ken Sugiura and Courtney Kueppers contributed to this article.