Some trash pick-up delayed as 50% of sanitation workers out due to COVID-19

ATLANTA — COVID-19 cases are hitting City of Atlanta workers hard, which is affecting garbage pick-up in some areas.

More than half of the solid waste crews are currently out with positive tests or symptoms and are waiting for results.

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Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach was in southeast Atlanta, where he saw trash trucks Wednesday, but not all the trash is getting picked up.

Crews are prioritizing trash and then they’ll move on to recycling, which right now is overflowing after Christmas.


Public works put out a notice to homeowners, saying to leave recycling out, but to expect delays in collection.

“COVID is wiping out over 50% of our workforce,” Commissioner Al Wiggins Jr. said. “I don’t think we could have done anything that we haven’t to prepare for this.”

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Wiggins called it a perfect storm, but said they’ve planned for this. They’ve moved staff from other areas into solid waste to get more crews on the street, along with four temporary hiring agencies they’ve been in contact with for just this scenario.

The agency could bring in up to 50 new workers by next week.

“As early as probably Monday we will be able to get some of those temporary laborers on board, so that has helped us out,” Wiggins said.

Residents can call the 311 line to report any missed collections.

Public Works said homeowners can follow and get updates on service delays through their website and social media accounts.

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