Georgia set a new single-day record for new coronavirus cases on Friday, reporting more than 4,400 new infections. The skyrocketing case numbers prompted Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to order the city to reverse its reopening plan and return to Phase 1.
Georgia reported 4,484 cases on Friday, bringing the state’s total to 111,211, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The state’s total deaths increased to 2,965.
Georgia is far from the only state facing an uptick in cases. The United States reported 63,200 coronavirus cases on Thursday – another all-time, single-day high for new confirmed infections.
Bottoms issued an order on Friday evening that says Atlanta will return to Phase 1, effective immediately, “in response to the alarming increase” in cases. The city was previously in Phase 2.
“Based upon the surge of COVID-19 cases and other data trends, pursuant to the recommendations of our Reopening Advisory Committee, Atlanta will return to Phase I of our reopening plan,” the mayor said in a press release. “Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences.”
Earlier this week, Bottoms announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19, but showed no symptoms.
As part of Phase 1, individuals are required to stay home except for essential trips and wear a face mask in public. The order also prohibits gatherings of any kind on city property.
Businesses must continue teleworking, and restaurants and retail stores can only remain open for to-go and curbside pickups. All non-essential city facilities will remain closed.
Following the announcement, Governor Brian Kemp criticized Bottoms’ decision and said it was “legally unenforceable.”
“Atlanta Mayor @KeishaBottoms’ action today is merely guidance – both non-binding and legally unenforceable,” Kemp tweeted. “As clearly stated in my executive orders, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide.”
“If the Mayor actually wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing state restrictions, which she has failed to do,” he continued.
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