ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms didn't shy away from saying what she thought could help slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.
"If it were my call I would have a stay at home order for the entire country, but obviously that is not my call," she said Thursday night during Gov. Brian Kemp's statewide town hall.
She was among several leaders who answered questions during the hour-long broadcast about the coronavirus pandemic.
Even with her beliefs of what is necessary, Bottoms said she gets why Kemp hasn't issued a shelter-in-place order for Georgia.
"I certainly understand and respect the governor’s position that he is balancing diverse constituencies across the state and their needs may be a bit different than ours," she explained. "But as it relates specifically to the metropolitan Atlanta area, I think that many of the cities surrounding Atlanta certainly have many of the same issues that I saw in Atlanta."
While Kemp ordered on Monday for those who were deemed vulnerable to the virus or medically fragile to shelter in place, he has not yet made the order apply to the whole state.
Kemp addressed that during the town hall. He said he's been trying to balance the needs of the state while allowing the leaders of those smaller communities to determine what's best for them. Kemp said he has been relying heavily on the advice medical experts from both Emory and the Georgia Department of Public Health.
"I've gotten a lot of great advice, I'm making decisions based on that advice, but I'm having to govern the whole state," Kemp said. "It's much different than certainly what Mayor Bottoms and other local elected officials have done. I've been in discussions with all of them about ways to handle this. I'm supportive of the actions that they're taking."
One of Bottoms' said a top concern of hers are communities that have people with underlying health conditions.
“Especially for our more densely populated cities like Atlanta and our surrounding cities, I do think a stay at home order would be appropriate," she said.
“But I certainly understand that there are many other cities throughout the state that are not navigating the same challenges that we are in the city," she said.
“I understand and respect the governor’s decision.”
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