Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms acknowledged during an afternoon interview with CNN that that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be significant in Atlanta.
“We are asking our corporate community to combine compassion with commerce,” Bottoms said, encouraging businesses to keep paying hourly employees if possible. She noted that Mercedes Benz-Stadium has committed to paying its hourly employees despite cancelled events.
“Our hospitality industry will take a huge hit,” Bottoms said.  “We are asking residents and visitors to dig into their pocket and tip a little more if you can. We are looking for ways to tap into the city’s reserves and extend resources.”
At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Bottoms said the travel bans – including the latest one from UK and Ireland announced this morning by the Trump Administration – will have a “huge impact” economically on the world’s busiest airport. The airport is one of the city’s largest job centers with more than 26,000 employees.
“We are looking at legislation on how to help concessionaires at the airport,” Bottoms said.
Bottoms encouraged residents to continue to “practice good common sense, social distancing, and washing hands.”
“We are facing a serous crisis in this country and we are telling the public not to panic, but be prepared.”
Bottoms said discussions are ongoing about implementing a ban on public gatherings in the City of Atlanta due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Most large gatherings have already been cancelled by event organizers – including the NCAA Final Four,  St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and suspension of Atlanta United matches – and most art venues and tourist attractions have closed their doors.
As of noon Saturday, the number of coronavirus cases has increased to 66 in Georgia, the largest increase within a 24-hour period to date, according to Gov. Brian Kemp, who declared a public health emergency in the state.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.