Category: Politics

‘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 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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Dunwoody mayor ‘implores’ residents to stay at home; City Hall closure extended to April 13

Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch is “imploring” residents to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, though her city has not issue a shelter-in-place order like Atlanta and Brookhaven. Meanwhile, City Hall’s closure is extended through April 13, according to a press release. And the City Council has scheduled a March 26 special meeting with no agenda yet, though a stay-at-home order could be discussed, according to a city spokesperson. In a March 25 press release, Deutsch noted that the city has issued various emergency restrictions, including a ban on dine-in service at restaurants and the closure of gyms, personal...

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Sandy Springs urges voluntary sheltering in place and business shutdown; may become mandatory

Sandy Springs city leaders “insist” that residents voluntarily shelter in place and that non-essential businesses shut down, or the coronavirus pandemic restrictions may become mandatory, said Mayor Rusty Paul in a March 24 statement. The city government in recent days has taken some emergency shutdown steps, including limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery; shuttering bars and gyms; and closing city facilities and parks. It has been less restrictive than Atlanta and Brookhaven, which recently issued formal shelter-in-place and broad business closure orders, among other provisions. Gov. Brian Kemp on March 23 issued new emergency orders requiring some people at...

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Brookhaven orders residents to shelter in place, sets curfew; asks governor for statewide version

The Brookhaven City Council has ordered residents to shelter in place through April 15 and declared a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew — both with various exceptions — in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And it called on Gov. Brian Kemp to issue a similar statwide shelter-in-place order. “So everyone stay the heck at home,” said Mayor John Ernst upon passage of the emergency ordinance at a March 24 meeting held by teleconference and livestreamed on Facebook for safety. The pandemic has been personal to Brookhaven, where a City Hall employee fell ill with the COVID-19 disease about...

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Gov. Kemp orders some at risk for COVID-19 to stay home; avoids statewide lockdown

Gov. Brian Kemp on March 23 issued new emergency orders requiring some people at risk of COVID-19 to stay at home, shuttering bars and nightclubs statewide, and prohibiting some gatherings of 10 or more people. He avoided a statewide stay-at-home order that some legislators have called for, leaving the metro area with a patchwork of other restrictions city-to-city and county-to-county. Kemp reported in a press conference that Georgia has so far seen 772 reported COVID-19 cases in 67 counties, with 25 dead. His order takes effect at noon, March 24, and continues through April 6. “While we have taken...

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State Sen. Kirkpatrick has COVID-19

State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, whose district includes part of Sandy Springs, has the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. The East Cobb Republican revealed her diagnosis in a March 20 Facebook post. She said she is in self-quarantine and is “recovering without complications.” Kirkpatrick was among many legislators who were in self-isolation due to state Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) attending a session while sick with COVID-19. She told the Reporter on March 19 that she was “staying at home as much as possible, as everybody should be.” But she did not mention that already had a fever starting March 15, according to...

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Who makes decisions in local cities if leaders fall ill? There’s a plan.

Atlanta’s City Council president and Brookhaven’s mayor and much of its City Council are under self-isolation for possible exposure to the coronavirus. So are many members of the General Assembly after a state senator with COVID-19 attended the session. And the pandemic in Georgia has only just begun. Who makes decisions in local governments if their leaders fall ill with COVID-19 and are incapacitated or worse? All local cities have lines of succession for other officials to take over, at least to a point, and emergency powers to meet remotely. Brookhaven just named an “interim mayor pro tem” in...

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Several local legislators ‘self-isolating’ after senator attended session with COVID-19

Several local legislators were “self-isolating” as a precaution after a state senator attended a session while knowingly sick with what turned out to be COVID-19. State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) showed up visibly sick for votes at the state Capitol over the past week, a practice at odds with advice from public health officials during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The General Assembly already had suspended its session due to the coronavirus, but reconvened on March 16 to grant Gov. Brian Kemp broad emergency powers to deal with it. Beach’s COVID-19 diagnosis resulted in a March...

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Atlanta Council president: Stay home to avoid COVID-19 unless need is ‘urgent’

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore recently learned two attendees at a massive conference she attended were diagnosed with COVID-19. Now she’s “self-isolating” as a precaution — but says she would do so anyway and that everyone should to avoid the pandemic disease. “If you have it, don’t go out so you can’t spread it. And if you don’t have it, stay in so you don’t get it,” Moore said of COVID-19 in a phone interview. “You should only be going out if it’s extremely urgent and critical that you do so. Other than that, the more we limit...

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Sandy Springs Council halts most ‘non-essential’ city decision-making during pandemic; no restaurant closures

The Sandy Springs City Council has adopted an emergency ordinance in response to the coronavirus pandemic that halts most “non-essential” decisions of city government for 60 days. The ordinance focused on government actions and not the forced closure of restaurants, as some residents requested, because the closings could kill local businesses, according to Mayor Rusty Paul. “State of emergency sounds a little ominous…but we are in unchartered waters,” Paul said March 17 at the city’s first-ever virtual council meeting. According to a document posted on the agenda, the emergency ordinance suspends much city government decision-making activity, including: Closing city...

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Sandy Springs to consider declaring ‘local emergency’ for coronavirus pandemic at March 17 meeting

The Sandy Springs City Council will consider declaring a “local emergency” for the coronavirus pandemic on March 17, according to a meeting agenda.  According to a document posted on the agenda, the emergency ordinance would postpone all hearing and meetings of city boards, committees and commissions for the next 30 days. That is with the exception of council meetings, which may be conducted via teleconference, without the requirement of having a quorum present in person, so long as notice is provided and access is afforded to the public, the document said. On or before the 30th day after the...

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