Atlanta 'Advisory Council' release reopening recommendations for city

Downtown Atlanta as seen from the Jackson Street Overpass. (FOX 5)

The Advisory Council for the Reopening of Atlanta has finished its final recommendations for a gradual reopening to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

While details aren't specific, the report did state the 60-person council outlined five sequential phases for the city to reopen. Those phases include:

• “The City establish and track clear metrics to signal to residents and businesses when they can more safely reopen, what safety measures they should take, and how their operations or routines may need to be adjusted. Metrics will also enable the City, in partnership with the State Department of Public Health and other agencies, to quickly identify resurgences of COVID-19, and provide an early warning system to the public in the event safety measures and restrictions need to be re-imposed.”

• “The City supplement the State’s reopening criteria with additional, voluntary guidelines. The Council outlined five (5) sequential phases for reopening, providing specific metrics that should be achieved to advance to each next phase, and voluntary guidance for individuals, businesses/non-profits, and the City for each phase.”

• “The City continue to work with public and private partners to address cross-cutting and sector-specific considerations for reopening, many of which cannot be addressed by a single actor or sector alone.”

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“Thank you to the members of the Advisory Council for your diligence in providing a thoughtful, detailed roadmap that will help inform our plans on the reopening of the City of Atlanta,” said Mayor Bottoms. “I am also grateful to the thousands of individuals who participated in our Resident Survey—it is my strong belief that our residents must be a part of this process. Together, we are on a path to ensuring that our plans for reopening the City continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of all Atlantans."

“After extensive research and review of global best practices, we believe the findings and recommendations in this report will help provide the City with safe and practical guidelines to help Atlanta residents and businesses through the COVID-19 crisis,” said Advisory Council Co-chair Ingrid Saunders Jones.

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In addition to the report, results from a resident survey were released. Nearly 16,000 residents were polled between April 18 and May 4. The results concluded:

• “An overwhelming majority of survey respondents indicated that, at the time of the survey, they felt unwilling to go to most businesses and venue types.”

• “Approximately 97% of survey respondents indicated they will not feel safe going out to various venues after reopening without taking their own protective measures, such as wearing a face mask, hand washing, avoiding crowds, and wearing their own personal protective equipment (‘PPE’).”

• “Respondents overwhelmingly indicated that, if required to wear a mask by a workplace or business establishment, they would be willing to do so.”

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“The Advisory Council’s recommendations are based on the current available science on the virus, which we know is rapidly evolving,” said Advisory Council Co-chair Robert Ashe, III. “The Council stressed that as the City establishes metrics and guidelines for reopening, the guidance should be reevaluated and amended as the science and facts are updated and made available to the public.”

The Advisory Council also recognized that there are Federal guidelines, as well as State Executive Orders, that have been issued pertaining to reopening. The Advisory Council’s voluntary recommendations are put forth as benchmarks for proceeding in a safe and deliberative manner within the context of the State’s reopening order

Fulton County has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state with just more than 3,700 with about 45% of all those cases are in Atlanta.

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