Atlanta mayor says COVID-19 cases rising at 'alarming' rate

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms appeared on Good Day Atlanta on Monday morning to defend her decision to rollback re-opening plans for the city to Phase One, citing the rise in COVID-19 cases.

"It's not looking good.  We track this daily in the city of Atlanta. What I am seeing are numbers that I have not seen in several months, probably going back to April," said Mayor Bottoms.

The mayor made the announcement last week stating quote, “Georgia reopened in a reckless manner and the people of our city and state are suffering the consequences.”

Under Phase 1 guidelines individuals are to stay home except for essential trips, must wear a face mask in public, and follow social distancing guidelines. Restaurants and retail establishments are to return to To-Go and curbside pickups. Non-essential city facilities will remain closed.

The mayor called the rise in coronavirus cases alarming.

"The data is clear; our numbers are rising at an alarming rate. It is very clear that our hospitals have already reached ICU bed capacity, others are quickly approaching it so we are asking people to do the right thing, be considerate not just of those in public but those in your homes."

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On Wednesday, the mayor signed an executive order mandating masks to be worn in public and said that the science is clear that wearing a mask helps stop the spread of COVID-19.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a written statement criticizing Mayor Bottoms' actions last week saying, "Mayor Bottoms' action today is merely guidance both non-binding and legally unenforceable. As clearly stated in the Governor's executive order, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide. Once again, if the Mayor actually wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing state restrictions, which she has failed to do."

FOX 5 reached out to Governor Kemp's office asking which state restrictions the mayor failed to enforce and were told he was unavailable for comment.

Mayor Bottoms questioned why her actions elicited such a harsh response from the governor's office when other Georgia cities have issued similar mandates.

"As it relates to the mask mandate I do find it peculiar that when the city of Savannah instituted its mask mandate, that the Governor's office was silent on that, yet when Atlanta has instituted suddenly the governor's office has a public opinion about it."

Mayor Bottoms encourages the public to visit the website to better understand the data the city is tracking and to learn more about the guidelines.

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