On Friday, confirmed COVID-19 cases continued to surge, Mayor Bottoms allowed beer and wine to-go sales, and Madea even issued a plea for social distancing. Here’s your Saturday morning update:
• There are now 485 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 14 people have died. [GA Dept. of Public Health]
• The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced it would donate $5.4 million to coronavirus relief efforts, with $5 million going to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund that was launched by United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta earlier this week. Money will also be donated to education nonprofit Hands on Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Foundation, as well as money to various charities in Montana (where Blank owns a ranch). [AMB Family Foundation]
• Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order to allow Atlanta restaurants to sell beer and wine to-go for the next 60 days. [Eater Atlanta]
• Following several other metro Atlanta cities, Roswell has banned dining in at restaurants and allowed to-go beer and wine sales. [Patch]
• The AJC updated their story from Friday morning that noted that Sen. David Perdue had traded stocks just before the COVID-19 outbreak tanked the market, noting, “Perdue’s transactions do not indicate the same sell-off as his counterpart [Sen. Kelly] Loeffler,” who is facing criticism for her trades before the market crash. [AJC]
• More than 300 passengers of the Costa Luminosa cruise ship, some of who tested positive for COVID-19, arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson today, but passengers reportedly complained of being stuck on the plane and too little food on the flight to the U.S. from France. Passengers were screened and told to self-isolate for 2 weeks but allowed to catch flights home, according to some cruise passengers. [AJC]
• A second state senator, Kay Kirkpatrick (R-East Cobb), has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) was diagnosed earlier this week. [MJD]
• The Fulton County Jail has released 15 pre-trial detainees charged with non-violent offenses, according to the AJC, as health officials worry about the spread of coronavirus in close quarters. [AJC]
• Governor Kemp authorized a $19.6 million transfer from the Governor’s Emergency Fund that will be used by the health department for medical supplies. [Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp]
• After announcing either a postponement or cancellation earlier this week, SweetWater 420 fest is officially cancelled for 2020, but plans to be back in April 2021. [SweetWater]
• With restaurants shutting down dining rooms, many are trying to keep employees afloat however they can. At Double Zero, chefs cooked and prepared tons of meals from restaurant stock for their fellow Castellucci Hospitality Group colleagues. The restaurant is still offering carry-out and delivery and is even selling the stock of toilet paper it had for its restrooms. Read our full story here.
• Linton Hopkins’ Resurgens Hospitality Group (Holeman & Finch, H&F Burger) has laid off 325 employees. Victory Brands (Victory, S.O.S. Tiki Bar, Lloyds) has laid off more than 100 employees. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
• With the Clermont Lounge closed, Blondie’s manager Katy Richards has launched a GoFundMe for the Atlanta icon. Richards says in the description that Blondie has been living in a “week-to-week motel in Midtown” that she can no longer stay in and that Blondie doesn’t qualify for unemployment. [GoFundMe]
• Even Madea wants you to stay home.
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) March 20, 2020