Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she has ordered Watershed not to turn off residential water over unpaid bills for 60 days due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Mayor Bottoms is also considering banning large outdoor gatherings for 30 days as irrational fears over the virus spreads.

The mayor issued the order because some people may be out of work due to concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.

"The health and wellbeing of Atlanta residents is at the forefront of everything we do as a city," she said in a news release on Wednesday. "Access to water is paramount in the prevention of COVID-19 or any infectious health threat and no one should be deprived of this fundamental resource because of an inability to pay."

According to WSB-TV, the mayor urged all city residents and visitors to follow preventive measures to limit the spread of the virus, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  •  

    Read the mayor's order here.

    Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

    The Atlanta City Council committed approved free swimming for low-income children over the objections of the mayor's office.

    The city charges $5 per child to swim in Atlanta's 12 city-run pools, but the Atlanta City Council committee approved legislation to eliminate the fee -- despite objections from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' office.

    LaChandra Butler-Burks, the mayor's executive director of the Office of Recreation, fought tooth and nail to keep the swimming fee in place.

    According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an ordinance was introduced by Council members Matt Westmoreland and Marci Overstreet that pointed out the disparities in deaths at city pools.

    Roughly 64 percent of Black children can't swim, and the drowning rate is three times higher for Black children.

    The ordinance blamed the disparities on unacceptable lack of access to city pools for low-income children.

    The mayor's office asked the Council to hold off on the vote to remove the fee because it could increase security costs at the pools significantly. But the Council proceeded with Tuesday's vote.

    The city pools generate $54,000 in revenue for the city. The original legislation moved $60,000 from a non-developmental fund to the Parks Department budget to make up the difference.

    The city currently provides security at the pools only during free swim hours.

    "We are at our best as a city when we are taking care of the people that need it the most," Overstreet said. "There is no reason we shouldn't have free swim in the summer. So we need to work as hard as we can to make sure that happens."

    KTSDesign/Science Photo Library

    Fulton County schools were closed after one teacher tested positive for the virus. Creekside High School, Bear Creek Middle School and Woodland Middle school were closed Monday after a teacher felt ill and went to a hospital on Friday.

    The teacher, who tested positive for the coronavirus, had direct contact with students at 2 middle schools, Patch.com reported. A high school was also closed because it was in the same neighborhood.

    Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images

    "The closure will allow us to clean and sanitize affected schools as well as share additional details of our ongoing plan," school officials said in a statement. "Updates regarding this concern will be shared via additional emails and the district website."

    The district said all extracurricular activities are also closed until Tuesday. The school district will make a decision by 5 p.m. on Tuesday if additional schools need to close.

    There are six confirmed cases of covid-19 in Georgia. Cases were confirmed in Cobb, Fulton and Floyd Counties. A sixth case in Gwinnett County is presumed positive but still awaiting confirmation.

    The CDC confirmed 566 coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 26 deaths. The majority of the deaths are among the elderly population and people with chronic illnesses.

    No child under age 10 has died from the virus anywhere in the world. The virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in most healthy adults under age 50.

    And causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and potentially fatal pneumonia among the elderly population and those with chronic illness and weak immunity.

    Critics point out that school closures will force parents to leave their children at home with their grandparents - the population most vulnerable to the virus.

    Emmett Murphy

    Emmett Murphy, also known as "Jackpot" to his friends and associates, is in the Fulton County jail charged with human sex trafficking. Police say he lured a teenager to Atlanta under false pretenses, then ordered her to dance naked and turn tricks during Super Bowl LIII.

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    Ralo

    A massive early morning raid on a Southwest Atlanta apartment complex on Wednesday is connected to the arrest of up-and-coming rapper Ralo, according to Channel 2 Action News.

    Agents from the ATF, FBI and Department of Homeland Security executed no-knock warrants on Ralo's heavily fortified apartment complex along Lucile Avenue.

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    Tip at march for humanity

    Rapper T.I. has some aggressive fans, but not all of them are women. The rap mogul took part in Monday's March for Humanity in Atlanta to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s burial. The march began at King's Ebeneezer Baptist Church and concluded at the Georgia State Capitol.

    Read more »

    Bernice King, Martin Luther King, III, his daughter Yolanda King and other King family members joined hundreds of Atlantans to commemorate this day with a March for Humanity from King's Ebeneezer Baptist Church to the steps of the State Capitol building.

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    Ring doorbell

    Investigators are still searching for a woman and 2 masked men who tricked a homeowner into opening her front door in the Vinings Estates subdivision in Mableton, Georgia.

    Smyrna police say the woman's boyfriend, who is a partner in a popular nightclub, may have been targeted because of his work.

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    driving while texting

    It is now illegal to hold your cell phone or place your cell phone on your lap while driving in Georgia. The Georgia General Assembly on Thursday approved an amended House Bill 673 that requires drivers to use "hands-free" technology while driving. But hands-free technology is not as clear cut as it sounds.

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    TI photos by Aric Thompson

    Tip "T.I." Harris appeared at Walmart on Cascade Road to personally give away free tickets to the Atlanta screening of Marvel Studios' Black Panther. The Atlanta Walmart on Cascade Road was one of 5 locations nationwide to offer FREE tickets!

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    Black Panther

    Walmart at Cascade Road is one of 5 locations nationwide to offer FREE tickets to view Marvel Studios' comic book superhero movie Black Panther! Walmart is set to host a special advance screening of Black Panther in Atlanta with an appearance by rapper T.I. Harris.

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    Armani Hickson Alisha McDaniel

    Atlanta police arrested a man suspected in at least 20 car thefts and home burglaries. Armani Hickson, 20, was arrested around noon Tuesday at a Union City motel where he was hiding with his girlfriend, Alisha McDaniel.

    At least three other men are wanted for a crime spree in the Atlanta area, police told Channel 2 Action News.

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    carjacking

    2 teenagers are in police custody charged in connection with theft of a SUV with two baby girls inside. The incident happened on Wednesday at a Clayton County gas station, south of Atlanta.

    Police tracked an iPad and an iPhone stolen from the SUV to the southwest Atlanta home of Khyree Swift, 17, early Friday morning. Another teen was arrested at a different location.

    Police did not release the name of Swift's accomplice because he is only 16. He will face a judge on Monday, where he may be charged as an adult.

    Police are still searching for a 3rd accomplice.

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    A post shared by The Varsity (@thevarsity1928) on

    Snow and Atlanta roads do not mix. Schools, businesses and government offices shut down at the first hint of snow or sleet in Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs.

    Many parents were forced to call out from work to stay home with their children, as the temperature hovered around 15 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday morning.

    Atlanta's famous The Varsity restaurant announced all locations in Atlanta, Athens, Kennesaw and Norcross are closed today.

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    Amanda Davis

    Friends and colleagues remember CBS46 Anchor Amanda Davis who passed away on Wednesday after suffering a massive stroke while boarding a flight at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Tuesday. She was 62.

    Click here to learn more about her life and career.

    One loyal Sandrarose.com reader wrote in to express her disapproval of the way we covered the untimely death of the legendary news woman.

    Read more »

    Chris Brown

    Chris Brown doesn't have Oprah money, but he still dug deep in his pockets to donate $50,000 to Columbia Middle School in Atlanta. The singer stopped by the school on Saturday to drop off concert tickets for all the children to attend his show later that night at Philips Arena.

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    TI Harris

    Rapper T.I. Harris, center, is still protesting outside Houston's restaurants in Atlanta. The 38-year-old music mogul claims the restaurant is discriminating against black people, but he hasn't provided any evidence of actual incidents of racial discrimination.

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    Martin Hvizda suspects

    Atlanta police released a surveillance video in connection with a deadly carjacking in Southwest Atlanta around 7:30 p.m Saturday, Sept. 16.

    Police are searching for 4 male suspects who shot and killed Marietta graffiti artist Martin "Tino" Hvizda, 31, then fled in his late model SUV.

    Read more »

    Fulton County officials sent a letter asking Live Nation to cancel troubled singer R. Kelly's upcoming concert at Wolf Creek Amphitheater later this month.

    The request came from Fulton County Commissioners who asked the county attorney to send the letter to Live Nation on behalf of the #MuteRKelly campaign.

    Read more »

    Jon Ossoff

    In yet another crushing blow to the Democratic party, Karen Handel won Georgia's special election to become the first female House Republican from Georgia.

    Handel easily defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff, whom the Democrats branded their "Trump-killer". The Democrats turned a meaningless local election into a referendum on President Trump -- only to suffer a stinging defeat.

    Read more »