Category: Buckhead Reporter

Gov. Kemp to issue statewide shelter-in-place order, close schools through current year

Gov. Brian Kemp will issue a statewide shelter-in-place order and order public schools to remain closed through the end of the school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, he announced April 1 in a televised press conference. The shelter-in-place order will run April 3 through 13, Kemp said. He said details are in the works and will be announced April 2. Kemp had been under political pressure to issue such an order, including from some local cities. Controversy arose when his chief of staff recently blasted such orders as an “overreach.” Kemp previously ordered schools to remain closed...

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Atlanta Police report four members with COVID-19; other local departments report none

The Atlanta Police Department reported four officers or staff members diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus disease as of March 27. Meanwhile, other local police departments report no cases on their forces so far. APD’s first known COVID-19 case was an officer who worked at police headquarters downtown. APD is declining to say where the other affected employees worked, citing privacy. APD’s ability to police the city is not affected, the department says. The Brookhaven and Dunwoody police departments have not had any officers tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19, according to spokespeople. Sandy Springs Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Salvador...

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Fulton County issues stay-at-home order, threatens $1,000 fines and jail time

Fulton County has issued an immediate stay-at-home order to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and threatened $1,000 fines and/or 12 months in jail for those who don’t obey. The order, which continues until further notice, came during an April 1 Board of Commissioners Meeting and was issued by the county’s Interim District Health Director Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford. “The order commands all county residents to stay at their place of residence; only allowing them to leave to provide, receive, or engage in essential services or activities,” a media statement said. “The order also permits those who work for...

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Local police departments field complaints about pandemic emergency order violations

Local police departments have begun fielding complaints about violations of pandemic emergency orders. Most say they have not issued citations yet. People gathering in parks in violation of social-distancing orders have been a common concern in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, say police officials. Maj. Andrew Senzer, the commander of Buckhead’s Zone 2 Atlanta Police Department precinct, did not respond to questions about citations, but circulated an email March 25 about the issue in parks. “As I drove around today, I observed that many of the parks and recreational facilities had fairly robust crowds, including individuals playing tennis,” Senzer...

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APS to provide week’s worth of groceries to families for spring break, change food distribution hours

Atlanta Public Schools will provide families with a week’s worth of groceries for the duration of spring break, April 6 through April 10, at five campuses. The district’s former several-days-a-week distribution is now being reduced to one day with 10 meals handed out at once. APS will be offering the grocery pickup on April 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at: Bunche Middle School, 1925 Niskey Lake Road Cleveland Avenue Elementary School, 2672 Old Hapeville Road Douglass High School, 225 Hamilton E Holmes Drive Phoenix Academy, 256 Clifton Street Sylvan Hills Middle School, 1461 Sylvan Road Beginning April 13,...

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‘Overreach’ or ‘action’?: The politics of local shelter-in-place orders

The shelter-in-place and business closure orders issued by local cities in response to the coronavirus pandemic are increasingly politicized along familiar Georgia lines: rural/urban, Democratic/Republican and state/local. Some local cities and Democratic state legislators have been pushing Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order. Kemp has issued some broad orders — including a statewide shuttering of bars and nightclubs — but otherwise declined, saying it should be up to local control. But his chief of staff ignited controversy by blasting such orders on social media as “overreacting” by governments with “judgment clouded by power” — comments...

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Atlanta mayor, United Way launch ‘#ATLSTRONG Fund’ donation drive for pandemic-affected residents, businesses

An “#ATLSTRONG Fund” donation campaign to support Atlanta residents and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the United Way of Greater Atlanta. “Families across Atlanta are facing uncertainty and seemingly insurmountable challenges due to this pandemic,” said Bottoms in a press release. “As a community, we must provide relief to those most in need. Thank you to the United Way of Greater Atlanta for their assistance in meeting these critical needs.” The fund’s priorities are listed generally as: Food security for Atlanta’s children and seniors; Support for individuals experiencing homelessness;...

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Atlanta mayor says stay-at-home order likely to be extended; parks, BeltLine staying open

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says her stay-at-home order for the coronavirus pandemic would likely be extended beyond its original April 6 deadline. Meanwhile, she is keeping city parks and the Atlanta BeltLine open, despite some complaints of crowding there. She made the comment March 31 during a conference call with the Atlanta City Council to provide an update on the city’s coronavirus response. As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, President Trump has already extended social distancing guidelines until the end of April. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia jumped to...

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Jewish HomeLife copes with more COVID-19 cases in senior residences

Jewish HomeLife is coping with more cases of COVID-19 in two of its senior residences, including six staff members at Dunwoody’s Berman Commons and an already isolated resident at Buckhead’s Jewish Tower. The Buckhead-based nonprofit is also seeking donations for more protective supplies for staff and residents. Spokesperson Shari Bayer said that Jewish HomeLife is likely not the only senior living operator in the area that faces COVID-19 cases, but is being especially transparent about it by immediately issuing letters to residents and families that circulate widely. The nonprofit is taking various precautions, including testing of staff and residents...

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Atlanta mayor orders $500-a-month pandemic hazard pay for some city workers

Nearly 5,400 city of Atlanta employees will get $500 a month in hazard pay for working during the pandemic under a new order from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The order is effective March 30 — the day before it was filed with the city clerk — and continues through June 30. The order gives an open-ended list of types of jobs eligible for hazard pay. They include “sworn public safety positions and civilians performing critical watershed, aviation, solid waste, transportation, inspection, parks and recreation and other front-line functions.” The extra pay is compensation for “working in areas necessary for...

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Letter: What one family has learned from the pandemic isolation

Our refrigerator died during the first week of the COVID-19 quarantine. You know, the refrigerator holding our double amount of groceries for our family of six. We have a small extra refrigerator in our garage which we transferred items to, but, true story, my daughter and son, being ever so helpful at the ages of 9 and 7, bumped into each other while transferring frozen blueberries and a glass jar of Frank’s RedHot Sauce. Glass shattered, the hot sauce made the scene more horrific than it actually was (thankfully no one was injured and certainly no blood to be...

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Construction of Hyatt hotel next to Buckhead’s Lenox Square to start soon

Construction of a Hyatt hotel next to Buckhead’s Lenox Square mall is scheduled to begin soon for a 2022 opening. The “Hyatt Centric” boutique brand hotel was announced for an April start just prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The timeline could be affected by the city’s temporary emergency order restricting certain businesses. The hotel will be 218 rooms — down slightly from the originally planned 221 — and 16 stories tall. Its site is 3301 Lenox Parkway, behind the mall and along Ga. 400 and the PATH400 multiuse trail at the George C. Bynum Jr. Pedestrian Bridge. The 1-acre...

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