As relayed on these pages in recent days, Atlanta’s approach to dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak has differed from some cities, in that new construction has not been ordered to shut down, the Beltline and city parks remain open (although with sterner social distancing campaigns), and residential real estate transactions have hardly been obliterated, as observers point out.
On a state level, a silver-lining to the pandemic woes—and one that’s possibly related—could have come today with a new WalletHub analysis that shows Georgia has the “least exposed” economy in the country when it comes to coronavirus impact.
The personal finance website’s study comes on the heels of the federal government’s $2 trillion stimulus package being passed and the U.S. stock market plummeting in value by more than 20 percent.
WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 10 key metrics to determine economic vulnerability right now. The data set ranges from the share of each state’s GDP coming from impacted industries, such as tourism, to spikes in unemployment insurance claims.
The Peach State economy is “less exposed to ill-effects from the coronavirus than any other state because it has one of the smallest shares of employment from small businesses [and] the second lowest unemployment increase so far,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez wrote in a press release. “Major events like the Masters being postponed will definitely hurt areas of the state such as Augusta, but Georgia is in better shape than other states overall.”
Louisiana, conversely, is ranked as the most economically susceptible U.S. state right now, owing to “a high share of employment from impacted industries, including tourism and oil, and one of the worst infrastructures for working from home,” per WalletHub’s findings.
Below is a roundup of how Georgia ranks in terms of coronavirus impact, with 1 being best and 25 the average, per WalletHub analysts:
44th – GDP generated by high-risk industries as share of total state GDP;
19th – Share of employment from highly impacted industries;
50th – Increase in number of unemployment insurance initial claims;
48th – Share of employment from small businesses;
36th – Share of workers working from home;
36th – State rainy day funds as share of state expenditures;
34th – State fiscal condition index.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reports the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state has climbed from 99 on March 16 to 3,817 as of noon today (a spike of nearly 800 overnight), with 818 hospitalizations and 108 reported deaths in Georgia.
Fulton County currently has the most confirmed cases (547), followed by Dougherty (455), DeKalb (325), and Cobb (272) counties, per the public health department.
Atlanta Streets Alive pivots
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition leaders are applauding a move by the City of Atlanta mayor’s office to include bike shops as essential businesses in a revised “stay at home” order, meaning bicycle retailers and repairers are allowed to continue operating.
“Transportation decisions and options [have] become dilemmas, and spaces to practice healthy activities are being reshaped,” ABC leaders noted in a newsletter. “We’re doing what we can to lessen the impact of these challenges.”
ABC has also announced that 2020 programing for Atlanta Streets Alive will happen in the fall this year—the 10th anniversary of the programs—to allow for more time to plan and grow the initiative.
In the works for May is a “fun way to celebrate our birthday virtually,” marking a decade since the initial Streets Alive was held on Edgewood Avenue, officials noted.
Since then, the initiative has hosted 1.7 million participants across 29 different programs and 83 miles of car-free streets.
Decatur lends property owners a hand
As a means to help struggling or worried homeowners, the City of Decatur has extended the deadline for paying property taxes from June 1 to July 15 this year without penalties or interest.
The move came Friday as part of Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett’s third emergency order in 10 days, the AJC reports.
Following the July 15 deadline, Decatur’s regular ad valorem taxes and fees, which carry an interest rate of .646 percent per month, will be applied, per current plans.
The mayor added in a prepared statement: “We know families and businesses are struggling financially while also being concerned about their health and the health of their loved ones ... This extension will provide property owners some extra time to make this payment.”
The Georgia Department of Revenue and U.S. Internal Revenue Service had previously extended income tax filing deadlines to July 15 as well.