Atlantans' use of the city's public spaces during the coronavirus pandemic has been a contentious matter for the past few weeks.
While many citizens are sheltering at home, in accordance with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s executive order, others have clearly gone about business as usual.
That might mean congregating on the patio at a local sports bar, playing pick-up basketball at Central Park, or, most notably, crowding together on the Beltline to enjoy a spring Saturday.
(Although it should be noted, based on solo visits Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the Eastside Trail was noticeably less congested this past weekend despite pristine weather, suggesting the Beltline’s social-distancing campaign could be working).
City officials such as Mayor Bottoms and City Councilman Amir Farokhi have suggested that, if people can’t keep their distance from others, those privileges could be taken away, at least temporarily.
Two options: (1) increase enforcement and/or physically close off fields/courts to break up unsafe gatherings; or (2) close parks for a short period of time. The former is preferable but, if it can't be done, the latter is needed.— Amir Farokhi (@AmirForATL) March 30, 2020
Others, though, have noted that the Beltline is crucial for exercise and a thoroughfare that connects Atlantans to essential services, such as grocery stores and medical facilities, and that most days of the week, the path is practically deserted.
Officials from the mayor’s office and the parks and recreation department did not respond to Curbed Atlanta’s inquiries regarding what it might take to enact further restrictions on access to these public spaces, and this story will be updated if information is provided.
For now, let’s hear what the general public thinks.
Should Atlanta officials enact tighter restrictions on how people access city parks and the Beltline during the pandemic?
This poll is closed
Yes, they should close the Beltline and parks until the coronavirus is contained.
Instead of closing public spaces, officials should provide stricter enforcement against people who are unsafely congregating in them.
Sort of. Officials should close the Beltline during high-traffic times, such as Saturday afternoons, to reduce crowding.
No, the Beltline is vital for exercise and a key artery connecting to essential services. People should be responsible for being safe and social distancing on their own.