Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Tuesday, March 24

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

Atlanta coronavirus COVID-19 updates
An empty parking lot at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody. The mall is now temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Monday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for Atlantans to stay at home unless absolutely necessary to leave, while Governor Brian Kemp called for only called for high-risk persons to shelter in place. Here’s your Tuesday morning update:

• There are now 800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 26 people have died. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued a 14-day “stay-at-home” order that orders Atlanta residents to stay in their homes with the exception of trips to or work at “essential businesses,” grocery/hardware stores, parks and the BeltLine, and restaurants for takeout. Businesses are directed to “cease non-essential operations at physical locations” and prohibits any nonessential gatherings. You can still walk your dog. Banks, gas stations, and laundromats will remain operational. You can still call a plumber. If your doctor or dentist is seeing patients, you can still go. [AJC]

• Meanwhile, statewide, Governor Brian Kemp ordered only those that are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19—the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions—to shelter in place. His executive order also requires businesses (churches included) to close if they can’t limit crowds to 10 people or less. Gatherings of more than 10 are prohibited unless the patrons can keep 6-feet apart at all times. Bars and nightclubs are required to close. On Tuesday morning, Kemp explained his reasoning on WSB Radio. The AJC reports that Kemp said, “The community is going to stop this virus. It’s not going to be the government or a medical provider right now. Until we find the vaccine or a cure for this, and that is months if not years away, society can stop the spread of this and contain it. . . . We’ve got to deal with [the virus]. But we also have to keep our economy going where it’s reasonable and make sure we don’t have bad social outcomes.”  [AJC 1/AJC 2]

• However, some are speaking out against Kemp’s actions—including the AJC editorial board—saying they are not strict enough while other states are issuing shelter-in-place orders for all residents. The AJC compares Georgia’s response to Ohio’s, which has about 1 million more people than Georgia but has a little over half as many confirmed cases and only 6 deaths compared to our state’s 26, noting their governor’s swift actions in closing schools, events, businesses, and requiring shelter-in-place. “Georgia’s cities and counties became a patchwork of confusing decisions and policies,” the AJC editorial says. “Requiring local governments to draft and pass their own orders is inefficient. The governor should draft an order that is mandatory in any county with deaths or where local officials adopted it. It’s time to stop leaving communities to draft their own.” Dr. Carlos del Rio, an associate executive dean for Emory at Grady and the infectious disease expert we interviewed for this story several weeks ago has also been warning that stronger actions must be taken before Georgia’s hospitals are overwhelmed. And following a presentation from del Rio, the Georgia Municipal Association is asking every city in Georgia to declare a state of emergency and shut down nonessential businesses. [AJC/11Alive/AJC]

• DeKalb County has asked for a voluntary resident curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., along with banning gatherings of more than 10 people. Businesses including gyms and salons are limited to having just 10 people inside at a time, and indoor funerals are also restricted to 10 people. [DeKalb County]

• Dunwoody has closed businesses that offer “massage, manicure, hairstyling, or personal grooming services.” The order excepts medical massage and chiropractors and allows salons to still sell products. The city has also closed gyms, playgrounds, and prohibited dining in at restaurants. [City of Dunwoody]

• All Georgia DDS locations have closed until April 1. The state announced a 60-day extension for most licenses that expire between now and June 30. [CBS46]

• Cobb County has closed its parks. [Cobb County Government]

• The City of East Point has banned dining in at restaurants and shuttered all nonessential businesses. Businesses can only be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the exception of healthcare providers, hotels, and pharmacies. [City of East Point]

• The Tax Day deadline is now July 15 for both federal and state of Georgia tax returns. [AJC]

• Atlanta Public Schools are closed through at least April 13, an extension of the previous closure set to expire at the end of this month. [AJC]

• North Point Mall, Perimeter Mall, and the Gallery at South DeKalb (South DeKalb Mall)  are temporarily closed, following the closure of Simon Malls (Lenox, Phipps, etc.). [North Point/Perimeter/South DeKalb]

• An employee at a Cumming Publix (1735 Buford Highway) has tested positive for coronavirus, but the store will remain open after undergoing disinfection and deep cleaning. Publix cited the state health department in stating “store customers are considered to be at low risk of exposure.” [Publix]

• Following other grocers and stores, Publix will also offer a senior hour from 7-8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. [Publix]

• Big Boi’s Kryptonite Festival, set for April 18 at Chastain Park, has been cancelled. The rapper said on Twitter he plans to host it in 2021. [Twitter]

• The Alliance Theatre’s costume shop is among those sewing masks for local hospitals. [Broadway World]

• Atlanta Eats has launched a fundraiser for Giving Kitchen. The GoFundMe hopes to raise $5,000 by April 6. [Twitter]

• Sublime Doughnuts is offering a free roll of toilet paper with the purchase of a dozen donuts. Bell Street Burritos is also offering a free roll of TP with a $20 or more order and has also opened a “market” that sells vinyl gloves, bleach, toilet paper, produce, juice, tofu, beans, and rice. Eater Atlanta has a new map of restaurants becoming markets. [Twitter/Bell Street/Eater Atlanta]

• As the outbreak took hold in Georgia last week, we asked several of Atlanta’s favorite chefs for recipes that our readers could cook at home while sheltering in place. We’re going to publish a new recipe daily—here’s the first one for caldo de pollo from Taqueria del Sol’s Eddie Hernandez.