ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms gave an update on a lawsuit Governor Brian Kemp filed against her and members of City Council during an online COVID-19 update on July 23, 2020.
Kemp’s lawsuit counters Bottom’s decision to roll the City of Atlanta back to Phase I of its reopening plan, which would limit gatherings at restaurants and businesses, and the lawsuit opposes any plan to enforce a mask requirement.
Bottoms said she and Kemp had a “very pleasant, cordial conversation” yesterday and determined they both have the common goal of keeping the public safe and free of COVID-19.
She said they both agree “masks save lives” and will continue to work toward ironing out their differences.
She also said it’s not her desire as mayor to fight publicly with the governor, but to lead the city through the pandemic and other challenges it is currently facing.
Bottoms said she trusts Kemp would like to do the same at the state level, indicating the common enemy is COVID-19.
She said the city’s reopening plan is voluntary and was put into place before Phase I. She indicated:
I want to make it abundantly clear. We are not requiring businesses to close. I’ve never said that we could force businesses to close, and we have not attempted to close any businesses, but we are strongly encouraging businesses, for the sake of your employees and the sake of your customers, to carefully review the recommendations in Phase I of our reopening plans.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28. This is after two judges recently recused themselves from hearing the case. Bottoms said if she and Kemp cannot reach an agreement before the hearing, she is confident she will ultimately win in court, based on her experience as an attorney and judge.
Before discussing the lawsuit and providing an update on the pandemic, Bottoms also discussed the losses of civil rights icons Dr. C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis.
“These great men are more than icons, they are part of who we are as a community,” she said.
Bottoms said she attended Vivian’s funeral, which was held today at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta.
In her COVID-19 update, Bottoms said there are more than 152,000 positive cases and over 3,300 deaths in Fulton and Dekalb Counties combined.
She said a total of 146 city workers tested positive since March and two have died, to her knowledge.
Atlanta’s Chief Operating Officer Joshua Williams said 19 sanitation workers have contracted COVID-19. He said seven of them have recovered, while the remaining 12 are currently under a quarantine.
Bottoms urged people to continue wearing masks and visit the ATLStrong.org website for list of testing sites, public health agencies and updates on COVID-19 relief efforts.