Atlanta mayor declares state of emergency, bans crowds over 50 people

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said there will be significant disruptions, but they are only temporary.

ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced live on Channel 2 Action News Sunday night that she has declared a state of emergency in metro Atlanta and is banning gatherings of over 250 people. On Monday, following recommendations by the CDC, she narrowed that number to 50 people.

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Bottoms’ decision comes as numerous other major cities across the country impose stricter restrictions on social gatherings and even restaurants.

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The ban is expected to last through the end of the month.

“People have to understand, we are in uncharted territory here globally,” Bottoms told Channel 2 Anchor Justin Farmer. “A“This is not a time for panic but it really is a time for precaution and preparedness. At the end of the day, it’s about protecting our public.”

Bottoms said the emergency declaration gives her the power to close down businesses, but she hopes it doesn't get to that.

"It's going to be a disruption of life as we know it, but a temporary one," Bottoms said.

Shortly after Bottoms made the announcement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recommended that there be no gatherings larger than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

“This is a quickly evolving health crisis,” Bottoms tweeted. “The CDC’s recommendation of limiting public gatherings to 50 people came just as I was signing and announcing this Order. We will continue to evaluate and adjust our policies accordingly.”

The mayor encouraged people to practice common sense and avoid crowds.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden reached out to local businesses to get their reaction to the news.

Phil Handley, the manager of Hudson Grille, said they are already seeing cancellations.

“A lot of the large scale events were proactive and had already canceled and really for us, it’s day-to-day operations that are being affected,” Handley said.