Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Wednesday, March 25

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

Atlanta coronavirus updates
A Waffle House in North Carolina—the diner chain known for being open during just about anything has closed 365 stores nationwide.

Photograph by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

On Tuesday, more cities enacted “stay at home” orders, the Waffle House index rose, and MARTA made some changes. Here’s your Wednesday morning update:

• There are now 1,097 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 38 people have died. Fulton and DeKalb have the most cases (191 and 107 respectively), but Dougherty County (which includes the city of Albany—101) is now outpacing Cobb (90). [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Following Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s lead, many metro Atlanta cities are now issuing “stay at home” orders (also called “shelter in place”) mandating that residents not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary, including East Point, Sandy Springs, Decatur, Brookhaven, Chamblee (defined as “encouraged” to shelter in place), and Kennesaw. Cobb County also issued a shelter in place order, however, unlike other cities, it does not close nonessential businesses. [City government websites/Reporter Newspapers]

• If you’re still confused as to exactly what Atlanta’s stay at home order means, we broke it down here.

• Marietta has followed several other metro cities in requiring restaurants close for dine-in, closing playgrounds and sports fields, and banning gatherings of more than 10 people. [MJD]

• Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties have closed playgrounds and sports fields/areas. [AJC 1/AJC 2]

• While yesterday was supposed to be Georgia’s primary election, that contest has been moved to May 19, and to prepare, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the state will send out absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters. Inactive voters can request an absentee ballot request form from county election offices. [GPB]

Hamilton at the Fox Theatre has been postponed, while performances of Miss Saigon have been canceled. [AJC]

• MARTA is making more changes to adjust to the coronavirus threat. Because patrons will now only board busses from the rear entrance rather than the front, MARTA will stop collecting fares on the bus. If you transfer to a bus from a train, you’ll pay your fare at the train station, but if you are only riding the bus, the AJC reports that you’ll “essentially ride for free.” [AJC]

• If you’re familiar with the Waffle House index—a term coined by a FEMA administrator to determine the severity of a natural disaster based on the amount of shuttered WaHo restaurants in the area—you may be alarmed to learn the diner chain has closed 365 stores, more than they’ve ever closed previously. However, COVID-19 is no hurricane or tornado. 1,627 Waffle Houses are still open and offering take-out. [Twitter]

• The state is now asking for volunteer active and retired healthcare providers and administrators to help with the outbreak. Find more information here. [Georgia Dept. of Public Health]

• Local chain Gusto is trying a different approach to stay afloat—dining bonds, designed to be used for future catering orders. The fast-casual restaurant is offering $100 bonds that can be redeemed for $150 worth of food on July 1, and $200 bonds that can be redeemed for $350 worth of food on September 1. More info is available here. [Gusto]

• Here’s our second in a series of recipes to make at home—Ford Fry’s tomatillo salsa.

• Due to disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak, post-production on The Walking Dead season 10 finale, originally set to air on April 12, can’t be completed in time for air. AMC said in emailed note to the media that the season will instead officially end with the penultimate 15th episode on April 5, and the season’s 16th episode will air at a yet-to-be determined date as a “special episode.” [AMC]