Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued an executive order reinstating a citywide indoor mask mandate, including private businesses and restaurants, as COVID-19 surges again.

Bottoms said in a statement that her decision was in response to the rising number of COVID-19 infections, the impact of the Omicron variant and Centers for Disease Control guidance.

“The CDC has designated Fulton and DeKalb counties as areas of high transmission for the COVID-19 virus. Given this recent surge across the Atlanta area, and based upon the counsel from public health professionals, I am reinstating the citywide mask mandate,” Bottoms said. “We are watching the data daily and will continue to engage experts for guidance on how best to provide for the safety and wellbeing of our communities.”

The order also returns Atlanta to the “Yellow Zone” of its coronavirus response plan, which recommends restaurants close dining rooms and return to curbside and to-go orders, encourages teleworking, and avoiding large gatherings.

According to Georgia Department of Public Health data, the number of new cases had jumped from 2,334 new cases on Dec. 17 to 7,708 by Dec. 20.

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.