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Mayor issues warning: Stay apart from each other, or Beltline, parks could close

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To thwart the novel coronavirus, a stay-at-home order is possible, as closure of all bars, restaurants, and gyms is mandated

A photo of the Atlanta Beltline with a sign beside it urging people to keep apart from each other.
A sign urging social distancing along the Beltline’s Eastside Trail, which has been a congregation point in recent days, as rains began to sweep the area Sunday.
Josh Green, Curbed Atlanta

Almost every facet of life in Atlanta is being impacted by precautions to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but crowded stretches of the Beltline in the past week could have lent the impression that little has changed.

Government officials including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms have taken notice of large groups congregating along the Beltline and green spaces as the city awakens into spring.

“I don’t want us to get to the point we have to shut down the Beltline or close down or parks, but if people don’t heed the warnings to separate, to not congregate in large groups,” city officials could be left with no choice, Bottoms told WSB-TV in an interview today.

Bottoms announced last week she’s signed an executive order that will limit restaurants to take-out service. The move also closes all bars, gyms, and other gathering places, effective at midnight.

Per the AJC, Bottoms has informed the city council a stay-at-home order is ready to be issued but that state officials have asked for that to be delayed until a press conference scheduled this afternoon. Exceptions could be made for personal exercise and visits to pharmacies, groceries, home improvement stores, and liquor stores.

Bottoms also told WSB-TV that Grady Memorial Hospital has reached a “compromised state” with the next day or two being critical. It’s possible, she noted, that available hotel rooms downtown could be transformed into hospital space.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reports the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state has climbed from 99 on Sunday, March 16 to 772 as of noon today, with 25 reported deaths in Georgia.

Fulton County currently has the most confirmed cases (145), followed by Cobb (79), and now DeKalb counties (75), per the public health department.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to give a live COVID-19 update at 5 p.m. today.

State officials report that 5,069 coronavirus tests have been conducted as of noon today, with 772 positive and 4,297 negative.

Mayor Bottoms has also issued an executive order calling for a moratorium on residential evictions and filings for 60 days.

Below is an updated list of what’s currently closed to the public or canceled, along with places of interest and services that remain open. Note this is a fluid list as decisions are being made on a frequent basis.

UPDATED at 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 23.


  • Alliance Theatre
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Atlanta City Hall (closed to the public)

Essential services such as emergency response and trash pickup remain operational, city officials note. For emergencies, call ‪911‬, but all other services are available through the city’s 311 system (dial 3-1-1).

Also, Atlanta’s Center of Hope locations will be open from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays to provide meals to children currently served by after-school programming.

  • Atlanta History Center

Currently, the center is closed through the end of the month, but this could be extended.

  • Bloody Mary Festival

This has been rescheduled from March 15 to July 26.

  • Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival and 5K scheduled for March 28 and 29
  • Callanwolde Eggstravaganza Family Egg Hunt scheduled for April 11
  • Chattahoochee Nature Center: Closed to the public until at least March 31.
  • Children’s Museum of Atlanta
  • College Football Hall of Fame
  • Fox Theatre

All performances have been cancelled for coming weeks and may extend beyond that time. Check with the theater to confirm the status of any performance beyond March 27.

  • High Museum of Art

This includes all events and programs.

  • Inman Park Festival

Scheduled to happen April 24 to 26, one of Atlanta’s most beloved neighborhood fests will either be postponed or cancelled this year. “We are evaluating if a rescheduled event is possible,” organizers relayed via Facebook, “or if we will see you next April, 2021.”

  • Kenny Chesney concert scheduled for May 16.
  • Krog Street Market has announced the majority of its food stalls will pivot to takeout and delivery only, and public access to the market is now closed, as Eater Atlanta relays.
  • LA Fitness: All metro Atlanta locations are closed until at least April 1.
  • Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls have closed until March 29.
  • Ponce City Market is closing all operations temporarily.
  • Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center

Current programming has been suspended through March 31.

  • Shaky Knees Music Festival

The Old Fourth Ward music fest has been rescheduled from May to October 16 through 18. Organizers note that all three daily headliners (Black Keys, The Strokes, and Smashing Pumpkins) have committed to the new dates.

  • South Broad Street Market

The launch has been postponed indefinitely.

  • State Farm Arena events

Check the website or Facebook page for notifications on additional cancellations.

  • SweetWater 420 Fest scheduled for April 24 to 26
  • World of Coca-Cola
  • YMCA of Metro Atlanta: All locations are closed indefinitely. In an announcement, officials stated they have “a commitment to reopen as soon as the health and safety of our community can be assured.”
  • Zoo Atlanta
Exterior shot of the High Museum of Art.
The High Museum of Art has closed indefinitely.
Georgia Department of Economic Development


  • Atlanta Beltline

While the parks and trails remain open, most programming and events have been postponed, including the Atlanta Beltline Northside 5K scheduled for April 4. Check the website for up-to-date information. And abide by social distancing recommendations.

  • Atlantic Station

Reps send word that the Midtown-adjacent shopping district remains open, including take-out service for some restaurants. Readers have reported that most shops are closed.

  • CNN Center

While CNN center remains open, all CNN Studio Tours are temporarily suspended.

  • Georgia State Parks
Female kayaker on a lake surrounded by trees.
Solitary activities like kayaking and hiking in Georgia State Parks can help ward off cabin fever.
Georgia Department of Economic Development
  • MARTA service (rail and bus)

Regular MARTA service remains on schedule for bus and rail, though MARTA employees capable of working remotely are being asked to do so until March 31. The agency is boosting its efforts toward cleaning all high-touch surfaces, from elevator buttons to Breeze machines. In an open letter, MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker notes the agency “will continue to be there for customers who depend on us.”

On Friday, MARTA announced it’s joining agencies across the country in urging Congress to provide $16 billion in immediate financial assistance to ensure that public transit systems can continue to function during the national health crisis.

  • Stone Mountain Park

While park attractions are currently closed through March 27, all natural areas, the campground, and the hotels remain open.

* UPDATED at 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 23.