Atlanta could enter phase 4 of reopening by July

It's been nearly a year since a statewide shelter in place order was lifted, a range of businesses reopened and Governor Brian Kemp decided to bar local governments from taking more restrictive action.

Now, Atlanta city leaders are considering plans to enter stage four of the reopening plan by mid-summer.

Atlanta operates on a five-phase reopening plan. Right now, the city is in phase two, but by July, city employees could make their way back to government buildings. That means residents could pay water bills or request a building permit in person.

 "Even though we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though numbers are leveling off, people should still wear masks and social distance even if you've had the vaccine," Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond said.  "I've had both Pfizer shots and I'm still wearing a mask and social distancing."

At this point in the pandemic, Atlanta businesses are urged to operate with severe restrictions and capacity limits.

If numbers continue to decline, city leaders say Atlanta could enter phase four of the five-phase reopening plan by July.

"I think it's a very responsible calendar for us given that we're not completely out of the woods of the pandemic," Bond said.

Atlanta has been a getaway destination for much of the pandemic and Councilman Bond says local government has set an example for how residents and visitors should act.

"It's incumbent upon government to set the appropriate standard. Whether people want to meet that standard is a personal choice," he said.

A representative from the mayor's office sent a statement that reads in part:

"The Administration continues to monitor the data as it relates to our Phased Reopening Plan, which was developed by an expert committee and is based upon key COVID-19 related metrics."

All city services are available right now- as they have been since the pandemic, just from a social distance."

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