Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Monday, March 23

A quick roundup of what's happening in metro Atlanta and what you may have missed

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Castellucci Hospitality Group COVID-19 response
Recess chef Victoria Shore passes out containers of food to hourly service industry workers last Thursday. At Double Zero, Shore and other CHG chefs cooked restaurant stock that would otherwise go bad. Read our full story here.

Photograph by Lyric Lewin

Over the weekend, two more state senators were diagnosed with COVID-19, Invest Atlanta launched a new loan fund, and Magic City prepares to go virtual. Here’s your Monday morning update:

• There are now 620 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 25 people have died. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Two more state senators have tested positive for coronavirus—Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta) and Bruce Thompson (R-White). [AJC]

• Invest Atlanta has Business Continuity Loan Fund that will offer zero-interest loans to local small businesses “to address a lack of working capital and cash flows as a result of reduced consumer demand, the ability to fulfill product or service orders and other economic conditions.” Learn more about the fund and application process here. [Invest Atlanta]

• The city of Tucker has enacted a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew, following South Fulton’s curfew implemented last week. College Park has a curfew for businesses—10 p.m.-7 a.m. [AJC]

• Hospitals nationwide are running low on PPE (personal protective equipment—think masks, gloves, gowns, etc), including Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany, where there have been 103 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, according to the AJC. Employees have begun sewing their own masks and are asking for donations. Find instructions on how to make the masks and where to donate them here. [AJC]

• If you’ve been completely confused as to why Georgia has so few coronavirus tests, you are not alone. We broke down what caused nationwide testing delays, who is currently being tested in Georgia, and why it’s difficult to private companies to scale-up their tests.

• A 12-year-old girl is on a ventilator and in stable condition at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta after contracting the coronavirus. Serious cases in children have been rare. [CNN]

• Kroger is the latest grocery to offer an early hour—7-8 a.m. Monday through Thursday— designed specifically for seniors and high-risk persons. [WSBTV]

The Wall Street Journal examined Table 20 in Cartersville to show how an independent restaurant closing due to COVID-19 has a ripple effect across other businesses. [WSJ]

• Staplehouse has become “The Giving Soup Kitchen,” providing free 50 meals per day to laid-off service industry employees. Staplehouse has a Venmo for its own employees—@staplehouserestaurant. [Eater Atlanta]

• When the mayor banned dining-in at restaurants last week, chefs got to work at Double Zero to cook free meals for fellow hourly restaurant workers. Read our story about how the restaurant group behind Iberian Pig and Recess is trying to stay afloat.

• What does it mean to be a restaurant critic without restaurants? “COVID-19 is a direct attack on the thing that made my life not just exceptional but livable.” Our own Christiane Lauterbach, who has covered Atlanta’s restaurant scene for more than three decades, penned this essay.

Atlanta’s legendary strip club Magic City is about to go virtual—the club is building a website that lets patrons buy a $20/month membership to watch live and recorded videos. According to the AJC, you’ll be able to tip dancers directly and chat with them. [AJC]

• Have you heard of Kerzgesagt? The German animation studio produces charming “In a Nutshell” videos that explain various scientific concepts and scenarios. They’ve produced a helpful coronavirus video with contributions from Georgia Tech microbiologist James Gurney. [Twitter]

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