ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Wednesday during a press briefing that she is targeting Sept. 24 for bringing the city into Phase 3 of her reopening plan.
The mayor announced the city was entering Phase 2 last week.
She said last week that the city had "met the metrics of our data-driven plan to cautiously move back" to Phase 2. Mayor Bottoms had originally pulled back from Phase 2 after advancing from Phase 1 in July, as the city and Georgia more broadly saw a significant surge in COVID cases.
On Wednesday she said that "if we continue to move in this direction" then by Sept. 24 she was "hopeful" Phase 3 could be initiated.
According to the mayor's plan, Phase 3 would involve allowing for some small public gatherings and the city beginning to accept some applications for special events "with appropriate safety precautions," as well as more flexibility for individuals to take trips outside.
The city would revert back to Phase 2 with any new surge in COVID cases or if hospital/critical care bed capacity fell below 50% of pre-COVID available average beds.
"I just want to remind people that COVID is still deadly," the mayor also stressed. She said Emory epidemiologist Dr. Carlos Del Rio had told her the city has recently seen a spike in Hispanic communities, but that Black communities continue to see a disproportionately higher death rate from the coronavirus.
Underscoring the ongoing seriousness of the fight against the virus, the mayor said her own husband, who along with her and one of her children contracted COVID back in July, could now be considered a "long-hauler" still dealing with the after-effects of the illness.
"And this is someone who went into COVID in perfectly good health," she said.