Mayor signs bill to bring relief for Atlanta airport businesses' employees

Atlanta's mayor has signed new legislation designed to help employees at Hartfield-Jackson International Airport make it through the coronavirus emergency.

On Wednesday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed a bill sponsored by Atlanta City Councilmembers Andre Dickens and Marci Collier Overstreet, that would let the city temporarily suspend the rental payments that concessions and car rental companies have to pay for four months.

Instead of using the funds on rent, companies can use that money to provide relief to employees who are experiencing lower hours and lost wages due to the threat of COVID-19.

MORE: Management reduces check-in stations at Atlanta's airport during coronavirus outbreak

“Atlanta families — many of whom are already living paycheck to paycheck — will be overburdened if we do not provide much-needed economic relief immediately,” Bottoms said in a statement. “We are asking our business partners to continue showing compassion toward their employees, and when possible, provide continuity of pay for their hourly associates.”

The terms for the temporary rental payment legislation ends on June 30, but officials can extend the plan for another 30 days. Once the term expires, vendors will be expected to resume rentail payments.

MORE: Atlanta mayor calls on temporary halt on evictions during coronavirus outbreak

“Mayor Bottoms and I acted quickly to draft legislation that passed unanimously so airport concessionaires and car rentals can stay open and pay employees while sales are low due to air travel being extremely reduced,” Councilmember Dickens said in a statement.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport General Manager said that the airport was thankfully that Bottoms and the City Council could help reduce the rent of vendors during the outbreak.

The new bill comes after Bottoms issued an executive order calling for a temporary halt on residential evictions and filings for the next 60 days. The city is also planning to refrain from terminating water services from any customers because of non-payment for 60 days.

The mayor also has ordered a ban of all public gatherings and events of over 50 people within the city.