Coronavirus: What’s canceled and closed. And what’s not.
Thursday March 19
- The entire Georgia State Legislature is being urged to self-quarantine after Sen. Brandon Beach (R), who participated in a vote on Monday, tested positive for the coronavirus. More here.
- Atlanta-based children’s clothing retail chain Carter’s is suspending store operations starting today and expects to reopen in early April. More here.
- Atlanta-based optical chain National Vision Holdings is temporarily closing its retail locations through March 28. More here.
- Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses in all 159 counties in Georgia. Loans are available for small business and nonprofits. Terms will be established on a case-by-case basis but many are to have a 30-year repayment term with first payments not due for up to 12 months. Interest rates will range from 2.75% to 3.75%. Information and application here.
- The Millennium Tour 2020 show at State Farm Arena has been rescheduled to July 11.
Wednesday, March 18
- There are 197 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, out of 1,508 total tests performed at commercial labs and by the state. Experts believe the number of cases would be significantly higher if not for the shortage of available test kits. Two more deaths were announced, bringing the total in the state to three. One of the first drive-thru testing facilities, which will not be open to the general public, was set to open today in Cobb County.
- Simon Property Group will close all of its retail properties, including malls, premium outlets and mills in the U.S. starting at 7 p.m., through March 29. Among Simon’s properties are Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza.
- Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc. said the New York Stock Exchange will initiate its business continuity plan and move, on a temporary basis, to fully electronic trading on Monday, March 23. Trading and regulatory oversight of all NYSE-listed securities will continue without interruption.
- Delta Air Lines is making more major cuts to its operations in response to fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic. Details here.
- The No Limit Reunion Tour originally scheduled for May 1 at State Farm Arena has been moved to August 8. All previously purchased tickets will be honored.
- This year’s Atlanta Food & Wine Festival has been postponed. Details here.
- Home Depot is adjusting its store hours and expanding its paid time off policy. Details here.
- Monday Night Raw scheduled for March 30 at State Farm Arena has been canceled. Refunds are available at points of purchase.
- College commencement ceremonies: Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College are moving their ceremonies from May to December. The University of Georgia, Georgia State and Georgia Southern canceled their ceremonies set for early May.
- The Learning Express Toys of Alpharetta’s Petting Farm event set for March 21 and 27 has been canceled. The store is currently open for controlled shopping of 10 or fewer people and is also offering hands-free curbside pick-up.
- Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Labor addressed an increase in the number of partial claims filed as a result of businesses reducing work hours or temporarily closing their doors in light of COVID-19: As of an emergency ruling yesterday by the Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler, employers are mandated to electronically file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily lay workers off. “We are partnering with the Governor’s office and our federal and state authorities to make sure we are able to get the citizens of Georgia paid,” said Commissioner Butler. “We are working as an agency to provide innovative solutions to meet the needs of our customers, even when information is changing every day.”Filing partial claims results in employees receiving unemployment insurance benefit payments faster, usually within 48 hours for claims filed electronically. Employees for whom a partial claim is filed are not required to report to a GDOL career center, register for employment services, or seek other work. All Georgia employers will share in the cost of unemployment benefits paid to employees temporarily displaced due to COVID-19.
Tuesday, March 17
- Tennessee-based Dollar General stores have adjusted their hours, closing an hour earlier beginning today, while encouraging the first hour of operation be reserved for the seniors and the at-risk population to shop. The new policy will be implemented across Georgia’s more than 900 stores and the 16,200 stores across the nation. The more than 80-year-old family owned company has plans to open another 1,000 stores nationwide this year. Store hours vary for each store.
- Macy’s Inc. said it will temporarily close all stores by the end of the day. That includes all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s stores. Atlanta Business Chronicle reported last month that Macy’s plans to open a tech hub in Midtown, adding 600 new jobs.
- Dr. Kathleen Toomey says the state has tested more than 420 people for COVID-19 so far, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting. There are currently 146 confirmed cases in Georgia.
- All 26 colleges and universities within the University System of Georgia will conduct online instruction for the rest of the semester, with “extremely limited exceptions. More here.
- The City of Sandy Springs City Council approved an ordinance declaring a State of Emergency. Among the provisions of governing: Operations of essential services continue; public hearings and affiliated board or committee hearings are postponed; and public meetings may be conducted via teleconference without the need of a quorum present.
- Grady Health System implemented a stricter visitation policy at the hospital until the transmission of COVID-19 is “no longer a threat to patients, staff, and the community.” New guidelines here.
- The planned April 1 launch of the Buc shuttle powered by Via’d mobile app is being postponed. The current Buc shuttle service will continue regular operations until a new launch date is set.
- All Landmark Theaterssuspended operations until further notice. That includes the Midtown Art Cinema.
Monday, March 16
- Gov. Brian Kemp ordered all elementary, secondary and post-secondary public schools to close until March 31. The order would go in effect on March 18.
- Emory University’s Carlos Museum announces that it is now closed until further notice.
- The Atlanta Dogwood Festival, which was scheduled to take place April 17-19, will be postponed, its organizers announce.
- Six Flags America, which was scheduled to open for the season on March 28, announces it will temporarily suspend operation until the end of March, at which time it will re-evaluate the situation. Six Flags says there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at this park. Included in the suspension are Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell.
- The High Museum announces it is closed until further notice.
- Emory Healthcare announces it is postponing all inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases for two weeks. Beginning Tuesday March 17, Emory Healthcare is postponing all elective outpatient clinic visits.
- The Rotary Club of Atlanta, the city’s largest regular meeting of business leaders which normally has a Monday luncheon gathering of more than 250 members at the Loudermilk Center downtown, has suspended meetings until further notice.
- Switchyards All-City Club closed all three locations across the city through April 1. Private offices at the Downtown Club will remain open.
- An Atlanta-based auto retailing giant said the pandemic is causing it to “evaluate its alternatives” for a planned $1 billion acquisition announced in December. More details here.
- Atlanta-based fast-food giant Chick-fil-A said its closing dining room seating at all of its stores nationwide and that some of the restaurants “may only offer service through our drive-thrus, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options.” Taco Bell may soon follow suit.
- The coronavirus pandemic is bringing the dining industry to its knees, and the Georgia Restaurant Association is asking government officials to provide support. Story here.
- The Better Business Bureau serving metro Atlanta, Athens and northeast Georgia sent an alert about a potential scam involving a phone message from a company with the phone number 844-989-1702 that urges consumers to keep their family safe from coronavirus by purchasing healthcare plans from the caller. More on coronavirus scams here.
- The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival has been postponed.
Sunday March 15
- Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms declared a State of Emergency within city limits, prohibiting large public gatherings of more than 250 people.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recomends halting gatherings of more than 50 people across the United States for the next eight weeks. More here.
- Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centresaid they will close March 16 through March 31. Two shows scheduled for Cobb Galleria, American Craft Show 2020 and the Atlanta Model Train Show, announced their cancellation.
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced all bars and restaurants in the Buckeye State will be required to close indefinitely. DeWine said the move was prompted by concerns related to bars full of people celebrating the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. He said the order is being issued because social distancing – keeping populations of people away from one another to stop them from spreading the disease – is paramount to slowing the spread. He said without intervention, 40% to 70% of Ohioans could contract the coronavirus. (More here.)This type of enforcement has not been implemented in Georgia. The number of confirmed Georgia coronavirus cases increased from 66 to 99, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Health experts expect the true number of cases is far higher but limited testing has kept that as an unknown. Gov. Kemp said the state expects to double its testing by the end of the week, from 100 specimens per day to 200, with addition of new equipment and staffing.
- Piedmont Healthcare implemented “Level III visitor restrictions” at all 11 of its hospitals. that means no more than two visitors will be allowed per patient and no children under ages 13 (except those coming in for health care services). All visitors will undergo health screenings.
Saturday, March 14
- Gov. Brian Kemp signed a public health state of emergency to address novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Georgia. In a televised address he called it an “unprecedented health emergency: “… In only a matter of days, communities within the metro-Atlanta area and North Georgia have seen several cases, including hospitalizations, where the source of infection is unknown. Many of these cases have no connection to travel, and the capacity of our healthcare system remains at the forefront of my mind as we prepare for more local transmission. As of this morning, there are now 64 cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, which is our largest increase over a 24-hour period to date.” Kemp said there are 15 known cases in Cobb, 11 in Fulton, eight in DeKalb, seven in Bartow, five in Cherokee, four in Fayette, three in Floyd, two in Coweta, two in Gordon, two in Gwinnett, and one each for Lee, Henry, Lowndes, Polk, and Charlton counties. In Bartow, Cobb, and DeKalb counties, the number of cases doubled overnight. “We have to remain vigilant, especially for our most vulnerable populations.For weeks now, my team has been working around the clock to make sure that we are ready for any scenario. We have increased capacity at our state lab to allow for coronavirus testing of specimens. Right now, we are processing 100 specimens per day, and by the end of next week, we will double it to 200 per day with the addition of new equipment and staff.” “We have called on daycares and schools to take necessary measures to keep students, teachers, and administrators safe. We have restricted visitation at specific state health facilities as well as correctional and juvenile justice facilities.We have called on faith-based organizations to consider cancellation of services to mitigate the risk of transmission. I have also asked state agencies to immediately implement telework policies for employees who are able to work remotely without causing a disruption in service to Georgians. We have fully activated the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency’s State Operations Center.” Kemp also issued Executive Order 03.14.20.02 to call up as many as 2,000 Georgia National Guard troops to State Active Duty to address the crisis.
- Georgia election officials postponed the state’s March 24 presidential primaries until May 19, when other 2020 primary elections are also being held.
- The Fox Theatrewill temporarily close for “at least two weeks” in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Zoo Atlanta announces it will close through March 31 at a minimum.
- The 2020 Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship, scheduled for April 3-5 at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, has been suspended.
Friday, March 13
- The Masters tournament has been postponed due to coronavirus, Augusta National announced. The tournament had been scheduled for April 9-12. Augusta National Chairman Fred S. Ridley: “Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances.” More here.
- Delta chief executive officer Ed Bastian announced an “unprecedented” 40% reduction in flight capacity in the coming months. Bastian will forgo his salary for six months.
- The Georgia Aquarium announces it will close for two weeks.
- The Atlanta History Center announces it will close through the end of March.
- The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau postpones its annual meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 30.
- AT&T asked all its employees with the ability to work remotely to do so until further notice. The company, which is Atlanta’s fourth-largest employer with approximately 20,000 full-time workers in the city, will reportedly be announcing new procedures and safeguards for employees who can’t work from home, CEO Randall Stephenson told employees in a note.
- Key members of Atlanta’s business and civic community met with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Friday morning to develop strategies on how best to respond to the coronavirus. John Haupert, CEO of the Grady Health System: “My biggest concern is the testing capacity,” Haupert said. “DPH (the Georgia Department of Public Health) has said they can do about 100 tests a day. We need at least 1,000 to 1,500 a day, minimum. If we don’t test, we don’t know who is sick and who should be quarantined.” More here.
- A message from our publisher, David Rubinger, here.
- Gov. Kemp said he will declare a public health emergency for the state Saturday morning follow President Trump’s emergency declaration. “This declaration will greatly assist health and emergency management officials across Georgia by deploying all available resources for the mitigation and treatment of COVID-19. In accordance with state law, I will call for a special session of the General Assembly to convene at the State Capitol at 8 AM on Monday, March 16, 2020 to ratify this action through a joint resolution.” Kemp, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and the Georgia Department of Public Health also announced that a quarantine space for persons who test positive for the virus and are unable to self-isolate is under construction on the Georgia Public Safety Training Center Campus in Monroe County. The quarantine space will be able to accommodate 20 temporary housing units. No patients are currently located at the facility.
- The American Cancer Society has suspended all events through March 31.
- The NCAA canceled all its Division II and III Championship games scheduled for April 5 at State Farm Arena. NCAA President Mark Emmert: “This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.” More here.
- V-103 postponed the V-103 Live concert at State Farm Arena originally scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020. All tickets will be honored for the future date.
- Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center cancelled all public performances and events scheduled through March 31 effective Friday, March 13. “The health and well-being of our patrons, artists, and staff are of the utmost importance to us. Taking a pause in programming will contribute to containment efforts called for by Georgia Governor Kemp and national health officials,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in an announcement. More here.
- The Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Hunger Walk Run 2020 set for Sunday March 15 at the Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been cancelled. It had raised $380,919 according to its website.
- The St. Baldrick’s Foundation Atlanta postponed head-shaving events to raise money for childhood cancer research on March 13 at Fado Buckhead and March 14 at Thos. O’Reilly’s Public House (formerly Meehan’s), as well as the 3rd annual Rock the Bald ATL on March 21, until further notice. More here.
- The Junior League of Atlanta Inc. Board of Directors canceled the 16th Annual Shamrock ‘N Roll Road Race fundraiser set for Saturday, March 14, at Atlantic Station in Atlanta.
- Major League Rugby, in conjunction with Rugby ATL, has suspended all matches for 30 days.
Thursday, March 12
- The Georgia General Assembly suspended its legislative session until further notice. When lawmakers return there will be 11 days left in the 40-day session.
- The University System of Georgia suspended classes for two weeks and Atlanta Public Schools will be closed beginning March 16. The Cobb County School District will also close starting Monday, as will the Marietta School District.
- Gov. Brian Kemp confirmed the first death from COVID-19 in Georgia. The 67-year-old male had been hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone since testing positive for the virus on March 7. The man had underlying medical conditions, the governor’s office said. “I know the medical professionals on site did everything that they could, and I greatly appreciate their efforts,” Kemp said. “As our state continues to address this pandemic, I urge Georgians to remain calm and support their neighbors and communities. We are in this fight together.”
- Atlanta Tech Village, the fourth-largest incubator in the country, canceled all public events and tours. That includes Startup Chowdown and Atlanta Startup Village. More from Atlanta Inno.
- The CDC Foundation launched of a crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising hundreds of millions dollars needed to bolster public health response efforts to address the COVID -19 pandemic. The funding would be used to support the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund to address “a wide variety of in-the-moment, on-the-ground needs from public health responders, at the local, state, national and international level.”
- The Atlanta Regional Housing Forum canceled its March 19 event.
- SHRM Atlanta’s annual conference has been postponed until Aug. 3-4.
- The Atlanta Council on International Relation luncheon with Ambassador Stanley Kao, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative to the U.S., scheduled for March 16, is canceled.
- Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced the postponement of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day events, calling the decision to make it creating “one of the hardest days of my life.” More here. The Savannah Boat Show, meanwhile, is still scheduled as planned for March 20-22.
- Emory University has suspend residential learning for the rest of the semester. “Effective immediately, Emory University will extend spring break for students until Sunday, March 22, 2020,” the school said on its website.
- The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival delayed the launch of ticket sales for this year’s event. As of Thursday afternoon, the festival is still scheduled to go on as planned May 28 through May 31 in and around Midtown’s Loews Atlanta Hotel.
- The Atlanta Realtors Association’s Board of Directors cancelled its annual Top Producers Gala scheduled for March 21 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
- The Council for Quality Growth postponed its State of DeKalb County event set for March 18.
- The planned Electric Vehicle Day at the Georgia Capitol set for March 17 has been canceled. Officials are exploring options to reschedule.
- The Georgia Trust canceled its Conservation Gala scheduled for the night of March 14.
Wednesday March 11
- Gov. Brian Kemp requests $100 million be drawn from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
- Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms seeks funds for coronoavirus pandemic coordination team.
- Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms postpones the State of the City address at the request of the event’s sponsor, The Coca-Cola Co.
- March Sadness: NCAA tournament to be held without fans: The general public won’t be allowed to attend this year’s NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments which begin next week due to coronavirus concerns.
- Georgia Chamber of Commerce postpones its March 23 Future of Free Enterprise event and its March 25 Future of Rural Healthcare event.
- Metro Atlanta Chamber says it is continuing planned in-house events but to reduce the spread of germs it’s declaring MAC a “handshake-free zone.”
- Atlanta Science Festival cancels its Exploration Expo originally scheduled to take place March 21 at Piedmont Park. More info here.
- The Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting, scheduled for March 19-21 and expected to bring 20,000 dentists, hygienists, assistants, students and other dental professionals to the Georgia World Congress Center, was cancelled.
- National organization cancels 900-attendee meeting in downtown Atlanta.
- 21st Century Leaders canceled its annual signature fundraiser, Georgia Youth Leadership Awards (GYLA), which was planned for March 28. The group had expected 250 people from around the state.
Tuesday March 10
- Gov. Brian Kemp’s office confirms the first patient has been placed at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County in one of the seven emergency mobile units deployed there.
- Fulton County Schools were closed for a second day due to health and safety concerns regarding the coronavirus.
- Mountain View-based Google has told all of its approximately 100,000 North American employees to work from home if possible, Business Insider reports. The Alphabet Inc. company has more than 200 employees in Midtown Atlanta, and recently leased five floors at a new office building in Midtown Atlanta.
- A Waffle House in Canton in Cherokee County closed down and its employees were in self-quarantine through Saturday after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.
- Delta Air Lines sets up Atlanta ‘command center’ and scales back its international flights
- State Farm, the 15th-largest employer in Atlanta, suspended its non-essential travel.
By Atlanta Business Chronicle Staff
Mar 11, 2020, 6:57pm EDT Updated Mar 19, 2020, 9:25am EDT